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Open cholecystectomy

Daniel T Dempsey, MD, FACS
Shefali Agrawal, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Stanley W Ashley, MD
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Cholecystectomy is one of the most commonly performed abdominal surgical procedures. The laparoscopic approach is preferred due to documented physiologic, economic, and cosmetic benefits compared with the open approach. However, when laparoscopic cholecystectomy is not possible or cannot be completed safely, open cholecystectomy is indicated. Open cholecystectomy may also be performed as an integral part of another operation (eg, pancreaticoduodenectomy) or incidentally, if indicated, during another gastrointestinal operation (eg, colon resection). (See "Laparoscopic cholecystectomy" and "Complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy".)

This topic will review the technique of open cholecystectomy. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is discussed in detail elsewhere. (See "Laparoscopic cholecystectomy".)


The indications for a cholecystectomy include:

Symptomatic cholelithiasis with or without complications (see "Treatment of acute calculous cholecystitis" and "Uncomplicated gallstone disease in adults").

Acalculous cholecystitis (see "Acalculous cholecystitis: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management").

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 19, 2017.
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