Fewer-than-four ports versus four ports for laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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Background: Traditionally, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed using two 10-mm ports and two 5-mm ports. Recently, a reduction in the number of ports has been suggested as a modification of the standard technique with a view to decreasing pain and improving cosmesis. The safety and effectiveness of using fewer-than-four ports has not yet been established. Objectives: To assess the benefits (such as improvement in cosmesis and earlier return to activity) and harms (such as increased complications) of using fewer-than-four ports (fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy) versus four ports in people undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy for any reason (symptomatic gallstones, acalculous cholecystitis, gallbladder polyp, or any other condition). Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; Issue 8, 2013), MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform portal to September 2013. Selection criteria: We included all randomised clinical trials comparing fewer-than-four ports versus four ports, that is, with standard laparoscopic cholecystectomy that is performed with two ports of at least 10-mm incision and two ports of at least 5-mm incision. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently identified the trials and extracted the data. We analysed the data using both the fixed-effect and the random-effects models. For each outcome, we calculated the risk ratio (RR) or mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) based on intention-to-treat analysis, whenever possible. Main results: We found nine trials with 855 participants that randomised participants to fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy (n = 427) versus four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy (n = 428). Most trials included low anaesthetic risk participants undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Seven of the nine trials used a single port laparoscopic cholecystectomy and the remaining two trials used three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy as the experimental intervention. Only one trial including 70 participants had low risk of bias. Fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy could be completed successfully in more than 90% of participants in most trials. The remaining participants were mostly converted to four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy but some participants had to undergo open cholecystectomy. There was no mortality in either group in the seven trials that reported mortality (318 participants in fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy group and 316 participants in four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy group). The proportion of participants with serious adverse events was low in both treatment groups and the estimated RR was compatible with a reduction and substantial increased risk with the fewer-than-four-ports group (6/318 (1.9%)) and four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy group (0/316 (0%)) (RR 3.93; 95% CI 0.86 to 18.04; 7 trials; 634 participants; very low quality evidence). The estimated difference in the quality of life (measured between 10 and 30 days) was imprecise (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.18; 95% CI -0.05 to 0.42; 4 trials; 510 participants; very low quality evidence), as was the proportion of participants in whom the laparoscopic cholecystectomy had to be converted to open cholecystectomy between the groups (fewer-than-four ports 3/289 (adjusted proportion 1.2%) versus four port: 5/292 (1.7%); RR 0.68; 95% CI 0.19 to 2.35; 5 trials; 581 participants; very low quality evidence). The fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy took 14 minutes longer to complete (MD 14.44 minutes; 95% CI 5.95 to 22.93; 9 trials; 855 participants; very low quality evidence). There was no clear difference in hospital stay between the groups (MD -0.01 days; 95% CI -0.28 to 0.26; 6 trials; 731 participants) or in the proportion of participants discharged as day surgery (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.70 to 1.22; 1 trial; 50 participants; very low quality evidence) between the two groups. The times taken to return to normal activity and work were shorter by two days in the fewer-than-four-ports group compared with four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy (return to normal activity: MD -1.20 days; 95% CI -1.58 to -0.81; 2 trials; 325 participants; very low quality evidence; return to work: MD -2.00 days; 95% CI -3.31 to -0.69; 1 trial; 150 participants; very low quality evidence). There was no significant difference in cosmesis scores at 6 to 12 months between the two groups (SMD 0.37; 95% CI -0.10 to 0.84; 2 trials; 317 participants; very low quality evidence). Authors' conclusions: There is very low quality evidence that is insufficient to determine whether there is any significant clinical benefit in using fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy compared with four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The safety profile of using fewer-than-four ports is yet to be established and fewer-than-four-ports laparoscopic cholecystectomy should be reserved for well-designed randomised clinical trials.




Gurusamy, K. S., Vaughan, J., Rossi, M., & Davidson, B. R. (2014, February 20). Fewer-than-four ports versus four ports for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007109.pub2

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