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Immune suppression associated with trauma has been demonstrated to be proportional to the magnitude of injury. Laparoscopic surgery has been shown to produce a diminished stress response compared to open surgery. Postoperative immune function, specifically cellular immunity, may be better preserved after laparoscopic surgery compared to open surgery. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of open versus laparoscopic surgery on cellular immunity in a swine model.Twenty domestic female pigs were randomly selected for laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) or open cholecystectomy (OC). Cellular immune functions were evaluated with delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test and serial phytohemoagglutinin (PHA)-induced T-cell proliferation of the peripheral blood.There was a significant reduction in PHA-induced T-cell proliferation in both LC and OC groups on days 1 and 3 compared to preoperative values (p < 0.05). The reduction of mitogen-induced T-cell proliferation after LC was significantly less than after OC on day 1 (p = 0.03). The mean DTH reaction was 29.7 ± 3.7 mm2 in the LC group compared to 13.9± 1.2 mm2 in the OC group (p < 0.001). There was no difference in postoperative white blood count values between the two groups.Suppression of cellular immunity occurred after both LC and OC. The magnitude and duration of impaired cellular immunity after laparoscopic surgery was less than after open surgery as measured by T-cell proliferation and DTH response.