Routine Pathology and Postoperative Follow-Up are Not Cost-Effective in Cholecystectomy for Benign Gallbladder Disease

Pim B. Olthof*, Madelon J.H. Metman, Ronald R. de Krijger, Joris J. Scheepers, Daphne Roos, Jan Willem T. Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: The incidence of gallstone disease is increasing and represents a strain on healthcare systems worldwide. Following cholecystectomy, gallbladder specimens are generally submitted for histopathologic examination and the diagnostic yield of this strategy remains questionable. This study aimed to evaluate the usefulness of routine pathologic examination of the gallbladder specimens and investigate the results of routine postoperative follow-up visits. Methods: All cholecystectomies performed between January 2011 and July 2017 at a single center were evaluated. All gallbladder specimens were routinely pathologically examined. The outcome parameters were the macro- and microscopic gallbladder anomalies at pathology and the reported symptoms during routine follow-up visits 2–6 weeks after surgery. Results: In the study period a total of 2763 patients underwent cholecystectomy, of which 2615 had a postoperative visit in the outpatient clinic. Seventy-three patients (3%) complained of persistent abdominal pain, and 29 of these patients were referred for further treatment, resulting in a resolution of symptoms in 97%. Of all gallbladder specimens, 199 (7%) displayed macroscopic anomalies and in four (2%) of these, gallbladder carcinoma was diagnosed. Discussion: Selective pathologic examination of gallbladder specimens in case of macroscopic anomalies appears justified. Also routine follow-up after cholecystectomy appears not useful since 97% of patients do not report any symptoms at follow-up. A selective pathology and follow-up strategy could save significant healthcare costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3170
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


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