Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a new procedure in the armamentarium of the general surgeon. Its utility was investigated by comparison to open cholecystectomy in terms of procedure time, complications, hospital stay, and total hospital cost. Procedure time was approximately 200% longer with a higher incidence of intraoperative stone and bile spillage (17%) in the laparoscopic group. Hospital stay was reduced by 60% using the laparoscopic technique. No difference in total hospital cost existed between the two groups. The learning curve had an affect on hospital costs, which will decrease as more experience is gained with this procedure. Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy, at least initially, has no cost advantage over open cholecystectomy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be preferred by patients seeking shorter hospital stays and presumably shorter total recovery time.
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