Single-port and four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy were associated with similar self-reported pain scores and physiologic measures of recovery, according to a double-blinded, randomized trial published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgery.
But patients in the four-port arm reported significantly less fatigue (P = .009), and 40% needed postoperative narcotics, compared with 60% of patients who underwent single-port laparoscopy (P = .056), reported Dr. Juliane Bingener and her associates at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, N.Y.
“The data from this study may assist patients and surgeons in the discussion on how to choose a procedure,” said the researchers. “If fast postoperative recovery is the most important goal, four-port cholecystectomy may be more advantageous than single-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy. If cosmesis is the most important factor, single-port entry may be chosen” (J. Am. Coll. Surg. 2015 March 2 [doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2015.02.022]).
The study comprised 110 patients, of whom half underwent single-port and half underwent four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy, all performed by the same surgeon. The primary outcome was patient-reported pain 7 days after the procedure, as measured by the visual analog scale (VAS). In all, 81% of patients were female, and median age was 47.5 years, the researchers reported.
Postoperative VAS pain scores rose significantly for both groups, compared with baseline, but did not significantly differ between the groups, said the investigators (single-port: 4.2 ± 2.4; four-port: 4.2 ± 2.2; P = .83). Cytokine levels and variations in heart rate also were similar between the groups.
However, measures of fatigue on the linear analog self-assessment were better with four-port entry, compared with the single-port approach (3.1 ± 2.1, versus 4.2 ± 2.2, respectively; P = .009), the investigators reported. And 49% of patients in the single-port group reported severe fatigue (a score greater than 5), compared with only 22% of the four-port group (P = .005).
“While this could be due to alpha-error, the fact that the group with the higher fatigue levels (single port) also seemed to be taking more oral narcotic pain medication before discharge … while maintaining similar pain scores in the postoperative period and otherwise having a similar distribution of factors affecting postoperative pain … suggests that the narcotic pain medication may have indeed had an influence on the fatigue scores,” the investigators said.
The National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences funded the research. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.