Background: The safe completion of cholecystectomy is dependent on proper identification and secure closure of the cystic duct. Effecting this closure poses a great challenge when inflammatory changes obscure the anatomy. Subtotal cholecystectomy allows for near complete removal of the gallbladder and complete evacuation of the stones while avoiding dissection in the hazardous area.
Objectives: To describe experience with laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy.
Methods: Subtotal cholecystectomy was performed when the critical view of safety could not be achieved. Surgical technique was similar in all cases and included opening the Hartmann’s pouch, removing stones obstructing the gallbladder outlet, and identifying the opening of the cystic duct, as well as circumferential transection of the gallbladder neck, closure of the gallbladder stump, and excision of the gallbladder fundus. Data retrieved from patient charts included demographics, pre-operative history, operative and postoperative course, and late complications. No bile duct injuries were observed in this series.
Results: A total of 53 patients underwent laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy (2010–2018). Ten patients were operated during the acute course of the disease and 43 electively. Acute cholecystitis was the leading cause for gallbladder removal. Cholecystostomy tube was placed in 18 patients during acute hospitalization. The gallbladder remnant was closed and a drain was placed in most patients. Of the 53 patients, 42 had an uneventful postoperative course.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy is an effective surgical technique to avoid bile duct injury when the cystic duct cannot safely be identified. Subtotal cholecystectomy has acceptable morbidity and obviates the need for conversion in these difficult cases.