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Background:The practice of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a community hospital is presented. The morbidity of the procedure is analysed and recommendations for improvement are made. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was introduced into this 200 bed community hospital in October 1990. All five general surgeons accredited to the hospital agreed to participate in a quality assurance programme to determine the incidence of complications and to make recommendations for improvement.Methods:The records of all 534 patients having laparoscopic cholecystectomy between October 1990 and September 1993 were reviewed, and all complications recorded.Results:Of the 534 cases reviewed in the study 470 were considered uncomplicated and 64 patients experienced a total of 85 postoperative complications. The death of one patient was caused by a pulmonary embolus and another patient experienced a myocardial infarction. Twenty patients has postoperative atelectasis or pneumonia and urinary infection or retention occurred in seven. Complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy requiring a conversion to open cholecystectomy occurred in eight patients, biliary complications occurred in 18 and 11 patients required-operation.Conclusions:Three areas of concern were identified. They were the incidence of major biliary injury (0.37% of all cases) and its management, the role of cholangiography, and the incidence and prophylaxis of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Recommendations for improvement in these areas were made.

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