Systematic review of laparoscopic surgery in low- and middle-income countries: benefits, challenges, and strategies
AIM To evaluate the feasibility and safety of performing laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) in non-teaching rural hospitals of a developing country without intra-operative cholangiography (IOC). To evaluate the possibility of reduction of costs and hospital stay for patients undergoing LC. METHODS A prospective analysis of patients with symptomatic benign diseases of gall bladder undergoing LC in three non-teaching rural hospitals of Kashmir Valley from Jan 2001 to Jan 2007. The cohort represented a sample of patients requiring LC, aged 13 to 78 (mean 47.2) years. Main outcome parameters included mortality, complications, re-operation, conversion to open procedure without resorting to IOC, reduction in costs borne by the hospital, and the duration of hospital stay. RESULTS Twelve hundred and sixty-seven patients (976 females/291 males) underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Twenty-three cases were converted to open procedures; 12 patients developed port site infection, nobody died because of the procedure. One patient had common bile duct (CBD) injury, 4 patients had biliary leak, and 4 patients had subcutaneous emphysema. One cholecystohepatic duct was detected and managed intraoperatively, 1 patient had retained CBD stones, while 1 patient had retained cystic duct stones. Incidental gallbladder malignancy was detected in 2 cases. No long-term complications were detected up to now. CONCLUSION LC can be performed safely even in non-teaching rural hospitals of a developing country provided proper equipment is available and the surgeons and other team members are well trained in the procedure. It is stressed that IOC is not essential to prevent biliary tract injuries and missed CBD stones. The costs to the patient and the hospital can be minimized by using reusable instruments, intracorporeal sutures, and condoms instead of titanium clips and endobags.