Are natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery and single-incision surgery viable techniques for cholecystectomy?

James Scott Pollard, I Ahmed, Andrew Kai-Yip Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and single-incision surgery (SIS) are less invasive alternatives to traditional laparoscopic techniques. Concerns exist over the safety of these new approaches, and randomized controlled trials have yet to confirm a net benefit. If NOTES and SIS techniques are to become standard practice, then they should be shown to be safe and hold clear benefits to patients. We aim at comparing the available results by using these techniques in a standard laparoscopic operation (cholecystectomy).

A systematic review using available databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register) and the published English language medical literature was performed. All the archived articles were cross-referenced. Outcome data obtained from a Cochrane review of laparoscopic cholecystectomy were used as the control group. All the operations performed via a single incision were grouped under SIS, and operations in which a natural orifice (alone or as a hybrid technique) was analyzed, under NOTES group. Mortality and complications were the primary outcome measures.

One hundred thirty-five papers including 4703 patients (714 NOTES, 3989 SIS) were selected for analysis. Overall complication rate was 4.2% in the NOTES group versus 4.3% in the SIS group, with a distinct complication profile. No mortality was reported in either group. NOTES procedures had a longer mean operative time than SIS techniques (107 versus 79 minutes). The conversion rate between NOTES and SILS was similar (3.4% versus 3.3%, respectively).

No difference in the incidence of complications was observed with the newer techniques. Adequately powered randomized control trials are needed to clarify whether SIS/NOTES cholecystectomy has a similar length of hospital stay to traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The increased occurrence of specific types of complications and their use in acute pathology needs further investigation to warrant further use in routine surgical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to acknowledge help and statistical advice provided by Miss Annie Herbert, Medical Statistician, North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.


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