Background — The objective of this study was to compare the histology of gallbladders removed prior to the introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy with that found after the introduction of the laparoscopic technique to determine if there has been a change in the indications for surgical treatment of gallbladder disease.
Methods — A retrospective review of all patients undergoing cholecystectomy during 1989, 1992, and 1993 was completed at two large community teaching hospitals in two different geographic regions of the United States. Patients who underwent cholecystectomy as the primary procedure were studied. A total of 1,815 cases met the criteria for analysis. Histological diagnoses were categorized as acute cholecystitis with or without cholelithiasis, or chronic cholecystitis with cholelithiasis.
Results — The number of cholecystectomies performed increased by 58% from 1989 to 1993 (p < 0.05). The number of cholecystectomies for acute cholecystitis did not change.
Conclusions — With the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the number of cholecystectomies significantly increased and the proportion of cholecystectomies performed for chronic disease also increased. There has been a significant change in the surgical management of gallbladder disease with increased willingness to recommend elective cholecystectomy. Further study is needed to determine if there is real benefit from earlier elective cholecystectomy.
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