BACKGROUND: There are no randomized studies that compare outcomes after single-incision (SLC) and conventional multi-incision (MLC) laparoscopic cholecystectomy under an optimized perioperative analgesic regimen. METHODS: This patient- and assessor-blinded randomized three-centre clinical trial compared SLC and MLC in women admitted electively with cholecystolithiasis. Outcomes were registered on the day of operation (day 0), on postoperative days 1, 2, 3 and 30, and 12 months after surgery. Blinding of the patients was maintained until day 3. The primary endpoint was pain on movement measured on a visual analogue scale, reported repeatedly by the patient until day 3. RESULTS: The intention-to-treat population comprised 59 patients in the SLC and 58 in the MLC group. There was no significant difference between the groups with regard to any of the pain-related outcomes, on-demand administration of opioids or general discomfort. Median duration of surgery was 32·5 min longer in the SLC group (P < 0·001). SLC was associated with a reduced incidence of vomiting on day 0 (7 versus 22 per cent; P = 0·019). The incidences of wound-related problems were comparable. One patient in the SLC group experienced a biliary leak requiring endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The rates of incisional hernia at 12-month follow-up were 2 per cent in both groups. Cosmetic rating was significantly improved after SLC at 1 and 12 months (P < 0·001). CONCLUSION: SLC did not significantly diminish early pain in a setting with optimized perioperative analgesic patient care. SLC may reduce postoperative vomiting. REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT01268748 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).
British Journal of Surgery, 2014, Vol 101, Issue 4, p. 347-355