Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that the procedure is safe enough and works well enough for use in the NHS. The 7 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 7800 patients.

Generally, compared with the multiple‑incision approach, they showed the following benefits:

  • less pain for up to 8 hours after the operation

  • less scarring.

They also showed:

  • no increase in the number of operations that had to be changed to open surgery compared with the multiple‑incision approach, although there was an increase in the need to use extra surgical instruments

  • no increase in the amount of blood lost during the operation.

The studies showed that the risks of single‑incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy included:

  • injury to the bile duct

  • hernia at the site of the surgery

  • a hole in the gallbladder in 12% of patients

  • unremoved gallstones in less than 1% of patients

  • infection of the wound

  • short‑term bruising around the wound

  • redness at the site of the surgery in 4% of patients

  • bleeding under the skin in less than 1% of patients

  • swelling in 1% of patients

  • kidney failure in 1 patient

  • bowel blockage in 2 patients.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard