Symptoms Before and After Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy for Gallstones

Lublin, Matthew; Crawford, David L.; Hiatt, Jonathan R.; Phillips, Edward H.
October 2004
American Surgeon;Oct2004, Vol. 70 Issue 10, p863
Academic Journal
Between 1989 and 1995, 1380 patients underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy for symptomatic cholelithiasis by a single surgical group at a large private teaching hospital. Thirteen hundred surveys were mailed, and 573 (44.3%) were completed at least 6 months postoperatively. Pain and nonpain symptoms were present preoperatively in 432 (75%) and 457 (80%) patients, respectively. Postoperatively, pain and nonpain symptoms were present in 141 (25%) and 247 (43%) patients, respectively (P < 0.05). All nonpain symptoms were significantly reduced postoperatively except for diarrhea (P < 0.05). Longer duration of pain, age < 40, frequent episodes of pain, postprandial pain, and increased sites of pain preoperatively were all predictive of a higher incidence of persistent postoperative pain (P < 0.05). Persistent nonpain symptoms were more likely if diarrhea, fatty food intolerance, age < 40, or both pain and nonpain symptoms were present preoperatively (P = 0.05) and less likely if only pain symptoms were present preoperatively (P = 0.0001). This series quantifies symptom-specific outcomes for the surgeon. While most symptoms improve, a significant number of pain and nonpain symptoms persist after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. With these data, surgeons can modulate postoperative expectations and advise on the possible persistence of symptoms.


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