The incidence of symptomatic remnant gall bladder: a population study

Bladder Cancer

Bradshaw L, et al. ANZ J Surg 2020.


BACKGROUND: Subtotal cholecystectomy is utilized in conditions of high risk to critical structures, like the common bile duct. However, the remnant gall bladder may become symptomatic and require a completion cholecystectomy for treatment. This second procedure can itself be a risk to critical structures. To establish the incidence of redo-cholecystectomy and identify risk factors that lead to subtotal cholecystectomy and repeat operation in a review of state-based practices for cholecystectomy.

METHODS: A search of state coding records relating to cholecystectomy from 1998 to 2016. Patients who were coded for cholecystectomy-related procedures on different dates were identified. Patients who underwent the procedures within 6 months were excluded to avoid acute post-operative complications and gall bladder malignancy.

RESULTS: 210 719 cholecystectomies were performed. 1133 required repeat procedure. 616 were excluded, leaving 516 (0.25%) cholecystectomy patients requiring a second cholecystectomy. The subsequent operation was more likely to be an emergency procedure; involve transcystic bile duct exploration, adhesiolysis and require intensive care unit admission post-operatively. A repeat cholecystectomy was more likely to occur after having the primary procedure at a public hospital and when an intra-operative cholangiogram was not performed. Over the study period, the rate of repeat cholecystectomy increased from 0.02% to 0.6%. Incidentally, the rate of intra-operative cholangiogram during a primary cholecystectomy increased from 43% to 73%.

CONCLUSIONS: Repeat cholecystectomy is an uncommon procedure. A second cholecystectomy is a more complex and likely to require intensive care unit support. Referral to a tertiary hepatobiliary unit is recommended.