A survey of the timing and approach to the surgical management of patients with acute cholecystitis in Japanese hospitals

J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2006;13(5):409-15. doi: 10.1007/s00534-005-1088-7.


Background/purpose: Despite the fact that there is evidence advocating early laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis (AC), the practice of this treatment has not been investigated sufficiently. This study was designed to assess the current practice of laparoscopic cholecystectomy for AC among Japanese general surgeons.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to the 291 councillors of the Japanese Society of Abdominal Emergency Medicine in order to ascertain their current management of patients with AC.

Results: The response rate was 72.5%. A policy of early cholecystectomy for AC was adopted by 41.7% of the responding surgeons. However, almost the same percentage of surgeons routinely managed their patients conservatively, and opted for delayed cholecystectomy at a later date. The adoption of laparoscopic cholecystectomy was made by 79.1% of surgeons. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy for patients with AC who had percutaneous transhepatic gallbladder drainage (PTGBD) was adopted by 73.9% of the surgeons. Of the surgeons opting for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 37.3% performed intraoperative cholangiography laparoscopically for all patients with AC.

Conclusions: Although early cholecystectomy for patients with AC was not adopted by the majority of the surgeons who responded, laparoscopic cholecystectomy was a common procedure for early and delayed cholecystectomy. Despite evidence that strongly supports the use of early cholecystectomy, the use of this treatment remains suboptimal in Japan.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cholangiography / statistics & numerical data
  • Cholecystectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cholecystitis / surgery*
  • Data Collection
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Time Factors