Background: Cholecystectomy after gallstone pancreatitis may be technically demanding. The aim of this study was to investigate risk factors for a difficult cholecystectomy after mild pancreatitis.
Methods: This was a prospective study within a randomized controlled trial on the timing of cholecystectomy after mild gallstone pancreatitis. Difficulty of cholecystectomy was scored on a 0 to 10 visual analogue scale (VAS) by the senior attending surgeon. The primary outcome 'difficult cholecystectomy' was defined by presence of one or more of the following features: a VAS score >= 8, duration of surgery > 75 minutes, conversion or subtotal cholecystectomy.
Results: 249 patients were included in the primary analysis. A difficult cholecystectomy occurred in 82 patients (33%). In the 'same-admission cholecystectomy' group 29 of 112 cholecystectomies were difficult (26%) versus 49 of 127 patients (39%) who underwent surgery after 2 weeks (p = 0.037). After multivariable analysis, male sex (OR 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04-3.13; p = 0.037), prior sphincterotomy (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.01-3.16; p = 0.046), and delaying cholecystectomy for at least two weeks (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.04-3.16; p = 0.036) were independent predictors of a difficult cholecystectomy.
Conclusion: Surgeons should anticipate a difficult cholecystectomy after mild gallstone pancreatitis in case of male sex, prior sphincterotomy and delayed cholecystectomy.