How frequently and when do patients undergo cholecystectomy after bariatric surgery?

Victor B Tsirline, Zeid M Keilani, Sofiane El Djouzi, Ryan C Phillips, Timothy S Kuwada, Keith Gersin, Connie Simms, Dimitrios Stefanidis
Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 2014, 10 (2): 313-21

BACKGROUND: Rapid weight loss after bariatric surgery is associated with gallstone formation, and cholecystectomy is required in up to 15% of patients. Prophylactic cholecystectomy or prophylactic ursodiol administration in the postoperative period have been suggested to address this problem. The objectives of this study were to investigate the frequency and timing of cholecystectomies after bariatric surgery and to determine the associated risk factors in patients who underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB), laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB), or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

METHODS: Data prospectively collected in an institutional database were analyzed. Differences among the 3 procedures and the effects of ursodiol administration, patient demographic characteristics, postoperative weight loss, and individual surgeon practices on cholecystectomy rates were examined. Survival analysis and proportional hazard models were used.

RESULTS: Of 1398 patients, 109 (7.8%) underwent cholecystectomy with a median follow-up of 49 (range 12-103) months. Cholecystectomy frequency was 10.6% after LRYGB, significantly higher than 2.9% after LAGB (P < .001), and 3.5% after LSG (P = .004). The frequency was highest within the first 6 months (3.7%), but declined over time to < 1% per year after 3 years. Ursodiol administration did not affect cholecystectomy rates (P = .97), and significant intersurgeon variability was noted. Excess weight loss (EWL)>25% within the first 3 months was the strongest predictor of postoperative cholecystectomy (P<.001). Cox hazards model revealed 1.25 odds ratio per 10% EWL within 3 months, and odds ratio .77 per decade of life. In addition, white patients had 1.45 times higher cholecystectomy rates than did black patients. Preoperative body mass index, gender, and surgeon did not affect cholecystectomy rates.

CONCLUSION: Bariatric surgery is associated with a low frequency of postoperative cholecystectomy, which is highest early after surgery and mainly determined by the amount of EWL within the first 3 months. The results of the present study do not support routine prophylactic cholecystectomy at the time of bariatric surgery in asymptomatic patients.

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