Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) for complicated acute cholecystitis is associated with high rates of complications and conversion to open cholecystectomy. Percutaneous transhepatic gallbladder drainage (PTGBD) is a safe and effective treatment for acute inflammation of the gallbladder. This study was a retrospective analysis of patients who underwent an LC with or without PTGBD for complicated acute cholecystitis at our hospital between January 2002 and January 2007. Patients were classified into 3 groups: group 1, patients who underwent an LC without preoperative PTGBD (n=60); group 2, patients who underwent an early scheduled LC within 7 days of PTGBD (n=35); and group 3, patients in whom the LC was delayed for a mean of 19.9 days (range, 14 to 39 d) after PTGBD (n=38). The conversion rate to open cholecystectomy and the postoperative complication rate were lower in group 3 than in group 1 (P<0.05). Elective delayed LC after PTGBD may lower the conversion and complication rates of patients with complicated acute cholecystitis.