Subtotal cholecystectomy for the hostile gallbladder: failure to control the cystic duct results in significant morbidity

Michael E. Lidsky, Paul J. Speicher, Brian Ezekian, Edwin W. Holt, Daniel P. Nussbaum, Anthony W. Castleberry, Alexander Perez, Theodore N. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background Outcomes following the inability to control the cystic duct due to a hostile triangle of Calot during cholecystectomy remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to analyze the safety and efficacy of subtotal cholecystectomy, with attention to the necessity for secondary interventions. Methods Sixteen thousand five hundred ninety six cholecystectomies from January 2002 to August 2014 were reviewed, identifying patients managed with subtotal cholecystectomy, defined as the inability to isolate/transect the cystic duct. After propensity matching, we investigated surgical indications, perioperative outcomes, and the necessity for secondary ERCP, percutaneous drainage, and completion cholecystectomy. Results 65 (0.39%) patients underwent subtotal cholecystectomy; 54 (83.1%) began laparoscopically, of which 30 (55.6%) required conversion to laparotomy. Subtotal cholecystectomy, performed more frequently for acute cholecystitis (70.8% vs 34.6%), was associated with extended hospitalizations (4 d vs 2 d) and frequent surgical site infections (20% vs 4.6%). 25 (38.5%) subtotal cholecystectomy patients required ≥1 secondary intervention, and compared to standard cholecystectomy, underwent higher rates postoperative ERCP (30.8% vs 5.4%), percutaneous drainage (9.2% vs 1.5%), and completion cholecystectomy (6.2% vs 0%) [all P < 0.05]. Discussion Subtotal cholecystectomy fails to control the cystic duct, resulting in significant morbidity. Most do not require completion cholecystectomy; however, patients demand close observation and, frequently, secondary interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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