Hypotheses: To evaluate the feasibility and safety of the minilaparoscopic cholecystectomy (MLC) and to compare the clinical benefits experienced by patients who undergo MLC with those who undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) or 5-mm laparoscopic cholecystectomy (5-mm LC). Design: Prospective consecutive study. Setting: A tertiary referral center. Patients: From September 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001, 90 patients with symptomatic gallstones were randomized to undergo 1 of these 3 procedures. Intervention: Minilaparoscopic cholecystectomy, LC, and 5-mm LC. Main Outcome Measures: Duration of surgery, loss of blood, length of hospital stay, resumption of solid food intake, quantity of analgesic dosage administered, development of complications, degree of pain at ports 24 and 48 hours after surgery, and overall cosmetic result. Results: Subsequent to excluding 6 patients who were converted to LC, there were 30 patients in the LC group, 29 patients in the 5-mm LC group, and 25 patients in the MLC group. The MLC necessitated a longer time to complete the procedure than was the case for the other 2 procedures. There was no notable difference in the mean dosage of the meperidine hydrochloride (Pethidine) administered between the LC and MLC groups, but an apparent increase in the analgesia requirements for the 5-mm LC group was noted when compared with those of the other 2 groups. There was no remarkable difference in terms of blood loss, resumption of solid food intake, hospital stay subsequent to surgery, or surgical-related complication between these 3 groups. The MLC group did have a lower pain score in the subxyphoid port only at 24 hours after surgery compared with the other 2 groups. The cosmetic results were evaluated and no notable difference was noted at 1 week, 1 month, and 6 months after surgery. Conclusions: Although this study has demonstrated the feasibility and safety of the MLC, it does require a longer surgical time and reflects a reasonably high possibility for the conversion to LC. Furthermore, the MLC did not provide any notable clinical benefit for the tested patients compared with those patients in the LC group. We concluded that there is no reason for the MLC to become the universally accepted mode of treatment for symptomatic gallstones before further improvements are made in the technique and instrumentation.
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