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Background: Single-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy is an evolving technique which is now widely established. Up until now, the safety of the procedure and a respective learning curve have not been adequately reported in most studies. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that single-port cholecystectomy is a safe procedure, with a positive learning curve from a case-control study matched to one surgeon.
Methods: One hundred single-port cholecystectomies performed by one surgeon (AB) were retrospectively matched to 100 patients who underwent conventional laparoscopic cholecystectomy carried out by the same surgeon. The two groups were matched in respect of surgical indication, gender, age, and body mass index. The groups were compared with respect to operation time, use of additional trocars, analgesics required in the post anesthesia care unit, postoperative complications, and duration of hospital stay.
Results: No significant difference was found between the two groups with respect to postoperative complications and stay in hospital. The operation time increased slightly in the single-port group. Directly after the operation, the analgesic use required in the post anesthesia care unit was higher in the single-port group. Consumption of analgesics on the surgical ward was very similar in each group. In respect to the learning curve, the operation time and use of additional trocars showed a positive trend, starting with the thirtieth operation.
Conclusion: Single-port cholecystectomy is a feasible and safe procedure in a specialist setting. The procedure can be done under the same safety rules as those for conventional laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Considering the learning curve, starting with the thirtieth operation, a positive trend was seen. Long-term studies will be needed to establish the incidence and rate of incisional hernias.