Incidental cholecystectomy in the over-70 age group. A 19-year retrospective, comparative study

S. Watemberg*, O. Landau, R. Avrahami, I. L. Nudelman, R. Reiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives. To analyse the outcome of incidental cholecystectomy in the over 70 age-group during surgery for gastrointestinal malignancies. Design. Nineteen-year retrospective, comparative study. Setting. Department of Surgery, Belinson Campus, Rabin Medical Center. Subjects. The hospitalization records of 4072 patients who underwent cholecystectomy between 1975 and 1994 were reviewed. The incidental cholecystectomy cases for this period were identified and those performed during surgery for gastrointestinal malignancy were analysed separately. A sex- and age-matched control group was identified for comparison. Main outcome measures. Postoperative complications, overall morbidity and mortality, postoperative hospitalization days. Statistical differences in gallbladder-related complications and mortality among groups. Results. Mortality and overall morbidity were significantly increased in the no-cholecystectomy group. Hospitalization days were increased significantly in the group not undergoing cholecystectomy and although it didn't reach statistical significance, there was a clear trend for increased number of pulmonary complication in this same group. Sepsis and multiorgan failure, as an expression of acutely, postoperative symptomatic gallbladder were the major cause of death in the no-incidental-cholecystectomy group. Conclusions. Incidental cholecystectomy is safe and should be considered in every case of abdominal surgery, regardless of the age of the patient. In the over 70 age group, complication and mortality rates increase significantly and dreadfully when the gallbladder is left in situ after surgery for gastrointestinal tumors. Incidental cholecystectomy is not warranted in patients undergoing palliative procedures or in whom life expectancy is less than 6 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-104
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Aged
  • Cholecystectomy


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