The introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) revolutionized gallstone surgery because of the reduced operative trauma, quicker recovery time and diminished postoperative pain. More than 80% of all elective cholecystectomies are now performed laparoscopically. This new procedure, however, is the first in surgical history to have been declared the best option without the prior back-up of comparative scientific data. This volume brings together leading specialists to evaluate 5 years’ experience with LC and to determine whether this procedure can now really be considered the standard treatment for symptomatic gallstones. Following a short historical sketch and discussion of the pathogenesis of gallstone disease, the advantages and disadvantages of conventional open and laparoscopic procedures are considered and international results are compared. The place of conservative treatments using drug therapy and lithotripsy are included to provide complete coverage.