The laparoscopic approach to acute cholecystitis is not only feasible, but it is also a cost-effective, safe, and beneficial treatment option in selected patients. Patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery for acute cholecystitis seem to enjoy the same benefits of diminished pain and shorter hospitalization as those patients undergoing an elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The complication rates are also comparable with those for an open cholecystectomy. An early laparoscopic cholecystectomy within 4 days of the onset of symptoms has been shown to reduce the number of major complications and conversion rate, thus resulting in a decreased hospital stay. A low threshold for conversion to laparotomy also seems to be an important factor in maintaining a low incidence of operative complications. The conversion to laparotomy is therefore considered to be a good surgical option for experienced surgeons. Patients who are in the high-risk category or who have severe disease are best managed initially by gallbladder drainage unless they have perforated disease, which thus requires an emergency laparotomy.
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