The Short- and Long-Term Safety and Efficacy Profile of Subtotal Cholecystectomy: A Single-Centre, Long-Term, Follow-Up Study (2023)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Bodla, Ahmed Salman; *Rashid, Muhammad Umair; *Hassan, Maleeha; *Rehman, Saad; *Kirby, George.

Cureus. 15(8):e44334, 2023 Aug. [epub ahead of print]

Background Subtotal cholecystectomy (STC) has been reported as an effective method to remove the gallbladder if the hepatocystic triangle anatomy is unfavourable. However, the evidence regarding its long-term outcomes from the United Kingdom (UK) is lacking. This study aimed to assess its short and long-term outcomes with a minimum of one-year follow-up. Methodology We retrospectively analysed all elective and emergency STCs performed in a single UK NHS Trust between 2014 and 2020. Relevant data were collected using electronic patient records and questionnaire-based, long-term, telephonic follow-up (median follow-up of 3.7 years). Outcomes examined were immediate/short-term complications (biliary injury, bile leak, return-to-theatre) and long-term problems (recurrent symptoms, choledocholithiasis, cholangitis/pancreatitis). Results There were a total of 50 STC cases (58% females) out of 4,341 cholecystectomies performed (1.15%), with the median age, body mass index, and length of stay being 69.5 years, 29 kg/m2 and eight days, respectively. Twenty-eight (56%) were emergency. No patient endured bile duct injury. Seven (14%) patients had postoperative bile leak which was significantly more common when Hartmann's pouch was left open (33% vs. 8%; p = 0.03). No bile duct injury was reported. Most were managed conservatively (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography + stent: four; radiological drainage: one; no intervention: one). Only one patient required laparoscopic lavage and drainage. The true incidence of developing choledocholithiasis over the long term was 4/50 (8%) in our study. The median interval between STC and the diagnosis of postoperative choledocholithiasis was 15.9 months. All four patients had undergone type 1 STC (where the remnant of Hartmann's pouch was closed with sutures); however, subsequent cross-sectional imaging (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography or computed tomography) showed that the gallbladder remnant was visible in only two of these four patients. Conclusions STC is a safe option in difficult situations and prevents bile duct injury. Although the risk of bile leak can be reduced by closing Hartmann's pouch remnant, this may slightly increase the risk of subsequent stone formation. Infrequent occurrence of recurrent gallstone-related symptoms or complications favours its use

Link to full-text [open access - no password required]