Cause and outcome of aborting a difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomy due to severe inflammation: a study of operative notes

Usman Y. Panni, Gregory A. Williams, Chet W. Hammill, Dominic E. Sanford, William G. Hawkins, Steven M. Strasberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Upon encountering a difficult cholecystectomy in which, after a reasonable trial of dissection, anatomical identification has not been attained due to severe inflammation, and the risk of additional dissection is deemed to be hazardous, “bail-out” strategies are encouraged safety valves. One strategy is to abort the cholecystectomy and refer the patient to a HPB center for further management. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of cholecystectomies performed by HPB surgeons at our center between 2005 and 2019. We identified 63 patients who had an aborted cholecystectomy because of acute or chronic cholecystitis and were referred for additional care. Of these, operative notes and other clinical records were available for 43 patients who were included in this study. Results: 42 cholecystectomies (98%) were started laparoscopically. 25 patients (58%) had chronic cholecystitis, and 18 (42%) had acute cholecystitis. 40 cases (93%) fell into the highest level of difficulty on the Nassar scale (Grade 4). Procedures were aborted at the following stages of dissection: in 10 patients (23%), none of the gallbladder was identified; in another 11 (26%), only the dome of gallbladder was identified; the body of the gallbladder was exposed in 13 (30%); and dissection of the hepatocystic triangle was attempted unsuccessfully in 9 (21%). Following referral to our center, 30 patients (70%) were managed with total cholecystectomy while in 13 cases (30%), subtotal cholecystectomy was performed. Conclusion: Aborting cholecystectomy and referring the patient to an HPB center is rarely needed but is an effective bail-out strategy for general surgeons encountering highly difficult operative conditions due to inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7288-7294
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Abandoned cholecystectomy
  • Aborted cholecystectomy
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Difficult cholecystectomy
  • Difficult gallbladder
  • MAGS
  • Modified accordion grading system
  • Subtotal cholecystectomy


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