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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr07.2009.2126.
Published online 2010 January 13. doi:  10.1136/bcr.07.2009.2126
PMCID: PMC3028432
Reminder of important clinical lesson

Abdominal abscess due to retained gallstones 5 years after laparoscopic cholecystectomy


A 76-year-old female patient with diabetes presented with pyrexia and a recurrent painful right sided loin swelling. One year previously she had undergone radiological drainage of a large right sided loin abscess. At index presentation she was investigated both radiologically and endoscopically and a source for the abscess was not found. On this presentation, a computed tomography scan confirmed a large retroperitoneal abscess pointing through the lateral abdominal wall musculature. Surgical drainage was undertaken whereby the abscess was drained and several large gallstones extruded through the incision. The patient subsequently recuperated and the wound has healed successfully by second intention. Five years previously the patient had undergone an “uncomplicated” laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This case highlights the catastrophic late effects of dropped gallstones during laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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