Background In this article, we report the current surgical approach to gallbladder disease at a major referral hospital in rural Guatemala. Complications in a cohort of patients undergoing open versus laparoscopic cholecystectomy were catalogued. Methods We reviewed cholecystectomies performed by surgeons at the Hospital Nacional de San Benito in El Peten, Guatemala, after the adoption of the laparoscopic approach. Laparoscopic cholecystectomies (LCs) between 2014 and 2015 (n = 42) were reviewed and matched by 58 randomly selected open cholecystectomies (OCs) during the same period. Results Patient demographics were similar in the LC and OC groups. Of the 63 patients who had elective surgery, 43 (68%) underwent OC. Conversion rate, hospital length of stay, and readmission rate were 4%, 4.8 days, and 5%, respectively. Complications were similar between groups. Conclusions Despite the low number of LCs, their complications were not different from that of OCs. During the study period, a large number of cholecystectomies continued to be open, even in the elective setting.
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