Risk factors for conversion of laparoscopic to open cholecystectomy

Samer A. Kanaan, Kenric M. Murayama, Louis T. Merriam, Lillian G. Dawes, Jay B. Prystowsky, Robert V Rege, Raymond J. Joehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has become the treatment of choice for symptomatic gallstones; however conversion to open cholecystectomy (OC) remains a possibility. Unfortunately, preoperative factors indicating risk of conversion are unclear. Therefore, we aimed to identify risk factors associated with conversion of LC to OC. Patients and materials. Records of 564 patients undergoing LC in 1995 and 1996 were reviewed. Patients were assigned to one of two groups: (1) acute cholecystitis defined by the presence of gallstones, fever, leukocyte count > 104, and inflammation on ultrasound or histology; (2) chronic cholecystitis that included all other symptomatic patients. Demographics, history, and physical, laboratory, and radiology data, operative note, and the pathology report were reviewed. Results. 161 of 564 patients, had acute and 403 patients had chronic cholecystitis; 16 acute cholecystitis patients (10%) were converted from LC to OC and 17 chronic cholecystitis patients (4%) had LC converted to OC. Patients having open conversion were significantly older, had greater prevalence of cardiovascular disease, and were more likely to be males. LC conversion to OC in acute cholecystitis patients was associated with a greater leukocyte count; in gangrenous cholecystitis patients, 29% had open conversion. Conclusions. Importantly, these risk factors-older men, presence of cardiovascular disease, male gender, acute cholecystitis, and severe inflammation-are determined preoperatively, permitting the surgeon to better inform patients about the conversion risk from LC to OC. While acute cholecystitis was associated with more than a twofold increased conversion rate, only 10% of these patients could not be completed laparoscopically. Therefore, acute cholecystitis alone should not preclude an attempt at laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Chronic cholecystitis
  • Gangrene
  • Laparoscopy
  • Open conversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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