Here’s another paper that shows why reading only an abstract can sometimes be misleading.
A prospective trial (abstract here) of 49 patients randomized to single-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) vs. 51 who had standard 4-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) found that average operative times were 63.5 ± 21.0 minutes for the SILC compared to 43.8 ± 24.2 minutes for those who had LC, and hospital charges were also more than $4000 higher for the SILC patients—both significant differences with p values < 0.0001.
Medical and surgical supplies were the major factors contributing to the increased charges for SILC.
Other than a significantly larger number of females in the SILC group, the patients were similar in baseline characteristics.
Other important considerations such as postoperative pain, hospital length of stay (an average of 24 hours or less for both operations), use of analgesics, cosmetic appearance of the wounds, rates of incisional hernia, and quality of life were similar. Average follow-up was 16 months in both groups. The authors concluded that there was no advantage to SILC.
Since this paper supports my bias against single-incision surgery, I was going to tout it as yet another negative paper like a recent meta-analysis (here) from a group in Croatia showing absolutely no advantage for SILC.
But this sentence from the “Methods” section of the paper foiled my plan. “Before partaking in the study, each surgeon developed his or her SILC technical skills in a laboratory setting and demonstrated proficiency during 5 SILCs under the supervision of a surgeon with experience on more than 50 SILC cases.”
This was not mentioned in the abstract.