To respond to your question, the ductal anatomy that you describe on ERCP, in my mind, is not a contra- indication to the laparoscopic technique. As we all know, an important principle of cholecystectomy (whether laparoscopic or open) is to carefully dissect Calot's triangle to clearly identify the cystic duct (and artery) gall bladder junction....In your case, I assume that your patient is symptomatic from her gallstones and that cholecystectomy is indicated.
I believe that laparoscopic cholecystectomy has not been extensively studied. The apparent excellent results with the laparoscopic technique may be an advance for patients or it may just reflect different expectations for shorter recovery. With different expectations and the use of smaller incisions and self retaining retractors, it is possible that this type of open procedure may be nearly equivalent to the laparoscopic technique. In fact, there was an interesting paper in this month's or last month's Surgery where a prospective, randomized, blinded, controlled trial was reported that compaired the open and laparoscopic techniques. I recall that the outcome of both groups was nearly identical.....I am not advocating that laparoscopic cholecystectomy should be abandoned, just subjected to rigorous investigation....just as we would ask the Italian oncologist to investigate his "magic" coctail that cures all carcinomas. So, I think it is important that we openly discuss therapies and their scientific validity....time for me to get off my soap box and do a lap chole.