Laparoscopic cholecystectomy and cirrhosis: patient selection and technical considerations
The incidence of cholelithiasis in cirrhotic patients is higher than in general population. In the past, open cholecystectomy (OC) was the standard approach for patients requiring cholecystectomy. However, laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) was introduced in 1980’s and gradually became the preferred technique even to cirrhotic patients. The performance of gastrointestinal surgery procedures in cirrhotics patients is well-known to be associated with higher technical difficulty and increased morbidity-mortality. Cirrhosis is a major key intraoperative finding that contributes to surgical difficulty in LC. Model of End Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score and Child-Pugh Classification are the best devices to evaluate the underlying liver disease and to predict morbidity-mortality. Acute cholecystitis has higher incidence in patients with cirrhosis, emergency procedures in cirrhotics patients are associated with higher morbidity, longer postoperative hospitalization and a seven-fold higher mortality in comparison to elective surgery. LC in cirrhotics has a higher conversion rate to open procedure; however, LC demonstrated substantial advantage over OC providing shorter convalescence period and hospital stay.