Reasons for conversion from laparoscopic to open cholecystectomy: A 10-year review

Juliane Bingener-Casey, Melanie L. Richards, William E. Strodel, Wayne H. Schwesinger, Kenneth R. Sirinek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is now considered the "gold standard" operation for patients with gallstone disease. A number of patients require conversion to an open cholecystectomy for the safe completion of the procedure. This study investigates how the etiology and incidence of conversion from laparoscopic to open cholecystectomy has changed over time. All 5884 patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy between March 1991 and June 2001 were prospectively collected in a database. A total of 310 patients (5.2%) had had their cholecystectomies converted to an open procedure. The mortality rate for these patients was 0.7%. Causes for conversion were inability to correctly identify anatomy (50%), "other" indications (16%), bleeding (14%), suspected choledocholithiasis (11%), and suspected bile duct injury (8%). After an initial learning curve in thin patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis, inclusion of patients with acute cholecystitis, morbid obesity, or a prior celiotomy resulted in a peak conversion rate of 11% by 1994. From 1994 to the first half of 2001, the conversion rate has declined significantly for all patients (10% to 1%), as well as for patients with acute cholecystitis (26% to 1%). Although unclear anatomy secondary to inflammation remains the most common reason for conversion, the impact of acute cholecystitis on the operative outcome has decreased with time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-805
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Conversion
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgery


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