Background: Laparoscopy is the gold-standard for cholecystectomy after acute cholecystitis, but the issue is controversial in obese subjects.
Patients and methods: We reviewed 464 patients operated for acute cholecystitis (59 open and 405 laparoscopic) over the last five years at St Orsola University Hospital-Bologna and Umberto I University Hospital-Rome, comparing retrospectively: 1) BMI < 30 (397 patients) and BMI =/> 30 (67 patients) and moreover 2) BMI < 25 (207 patients) and BMI =/> 25 (257 patients).
Results: In the first comparison, obese patients showed higher cardiovascular co-morbidity (61.1% vs 44.5%, p=0.01), worse symptoms (Murphy's sign positive in 92.5% vs 80.8%, p=0.02; fever >38.5°C in 88.0% vs 76.0 %, p=0.02) and significant radiologic imaging (95.5% vs 85.1%, p=0.01) of acute cholecystitis. Laparoscopy was used in 83.6% of obese patients vs 87.9% without any difference, and operative time or conversion rate were similar. According to Tokyo Guidelines 2013, the number of patients who underwent surgery within 3 days or after 6 weeks was similar without statistical difference between the two groups. Hospital stay, morbidity and mortality were similar. Complications were seen in 25.4% of obese patients vs 15.9% (p= 0.03), mainly represented by wound infections. The second comparison did show no difference between two groups BMI =/>25 and BMI < 25.
Conclusions: Our retrospective multicenter study showed no difference related to intended operative approach, timing and outcome in higher BMI versus lower BMI patients operated for acute cholecystitis.