Role of gallbladder-preserving surgery in the treatment of gallstone diseases in young and middle-aged patients in China: results of a 10-year prospective study

Qiang Qu, Weijie Chen, Xiao Liu, Wenda Wang, Tao Hong, Wei Liu, Xiaodong He
Surgery 2020, 167 (2): 283-289

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to prospectively investigate the long-term effects of gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy in a selected population of Chinese patients.

METHODS: Between January 2007 and December 2016, all gallstone patients who met the criteria for gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy in our hospital were included in the study and followed prospectively. The primary endpoint was the time of recurrence of cholecystolithiasis, and the secondary endpoint was the end of the study. The data were collected in half-year intervals.

RESULTS: We surveyed 81 male patients and 135 female patients. Most patients (176/216) had only 1 gallstone in the gallbladder. All patients underwent gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy successfully. After the operation, 200 of the 216 patients were symptom free. There was no difference in the percentage of gallbladder emptying (the gallbladder emptying index) between the time prior to the operation and 6 months after gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy (0.47 ± 0.18 vs 0.49 ± 0.18, P = .837). Twenty patients (9.3%) developed recurrent gallstones during the follow-up period. There was no difference in stone recurrence between patients who were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid for 6 months postoperatively and those treated with ursodeoxycholic acid for 12 months (P = .589). Most instances of recurrence occurred within 2 years of gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy. Overall, the recurrence rates at 6, 12, and 24 months were 2.3%, 3.7%, and 7.6%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy is a safe and effective operative procedure for selected Chinese patients. The function of the gallbladder can be maintained after gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy. The recurrence of cholelithiasis is infrequent in this Chinese population with a mean follow-up of 59 (range 8 to 120) months, and most patients with recurrent gallbladder stones experience no symptoms or only minor symptoms.

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