Learn more about the benefits of registering on the new BJS website

Randomized clinical trial of ultrasonic versus electrocautery dissection of the gallbladder in laparoscopic cholecystectomy. BJS 2003; 90: 799-803.

Published: 29th April 2003

Authors: I. M. C. Janssen, D. J. Swank, O. Boonstra, B. C. Knipscheer, J. H. G. Klinkenbijl, H. van Goor et al.


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is frequently complicated by gallbladder perforation and loss of bile or stones into the peritoneal cavity. The aim of this study was to compare the use of ultrasonic dissection and electrocautery with respect to the incidence of gallbladder perforation and intraoperative consequences.


Between January 1998 and January 2000, 200 patients undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomized to electrocautery or ultrasonic dissection of the gallbladder. The main outcome measures were gallbladder perforation, operating time and the number of times the lens was cleaned. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.


The perforation rate differed significantly: 16 per cent for ultrasonic dissection (n = 96) and 50 per cent for electrocautery (n = 103) (P < 0·001). The operating time of the least experienced surgeons, who had performed fewer than ten laparoscopic cholecystectomies, was significantly shorter when ultrasonic dissection was used, compared with electrocautery. The number of times the lens needed to be cleaned was significantly lower when ultrasonic dissection was used in complicated gallbladders (P < 0·035). At logistic regression analysis, the risk of perforation in the electrocautery group was about four times higher (odds ratio 0·26, P < 0·001) than that in the ultrasonic group. When the groups were matched for prognostic factors, including body mass index and surgical experience, the results were similar to those obtained with univariate and multivariate analysis.


The use of ultrasonic dissection in laparoscopic cholecystectomy reduces the incidence of gallbladder perforation and helps the operation to progress. Less experienced surgeons benefit most from ultrasonic dissection, particularly in complicated intraoperative circumstances. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full text

Your comments