Diarrhea after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: associated factors and predictors

Asian J Surg. 2014 Oct;37(4):171-7. doi: 10.1016/j.asjsur.2014.01.008. Epub 2014 Mar 17.


Background: Diarrhea is part of the postlaparoscopic cholecystectomy syndrome, but is not well defined. Published reports have ignored possible associated factors such as the preoperative excretion pattern, gastrointestinal disorders, personality disorders, the effect of drugs, unsanitary food, and high-fat diets.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to define the associated factors and predictors of postlaparoscopic cholecystectomy diarrhea (PLCD) at different time intervals after the operation and to identify the possible associated factors and predictors of PLCD. We also aimed to determine the effectiveness of a low-fat diet in these patients and to educate the patients about their diet after the operation.

Methods: Data were obtained from clinical records and preoperative interviews with patients, who were also interviewed or contacted by telephone 1 week after the operation, and then surveyed by telephone 3 months later using standardized questionnaires. A total of 125 consecutive patients who were adequately informed and who had assented to accepting a prescription of a low-fat diet after undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy participated in this prospective study.

Results: Thirty-eight patients (25.2%) had diarrhea 1 week after laparoscopic cholecystectomy and seven patients (5.7%) had diarrhea 3 months after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The important predictors of PLCD at 1 week were a low-fat diet (B = -0.177, p = 0.000) and a high score on a preoperative diarrhea scale (B = 0.311, p = 0.031). There was no predictor for PLCD 3 months after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Conclusion: We advise patients who have undergone laparoscopic cholecystectomy to follow a low-fat diet for at least 1 week to reduce the possibility of diarrhea, especially when they are ≤45 years of age, of male sex, and had a high preoperative tendency for diarrhea.

Keywords: complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy; diarrhea; laparoscopic cholecystectomy; low-fat diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / adverse effects*
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors