A pediatric surgeon's dilemma: does cholecystectomy improve symptoms of biliary dyskinesia? Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1007/s00383-021-04922-1 Web of Science: 000649203400002

Cited authors

  • Liebe HL, Phillips R, Handley M, Gastanaduy M, Burton JH, Roybal J


  • Background Biliary dyskinesia (BD) is a well-established gallbladder pathology in adult patients and rates of cholecystectomy for BD continue to rise in the United States. Many pediatric patients with vague abdominal pain of variable duration are evaluated for biliary dyskinesia. It remains unknown which cohort of pediatric patients diagnosed with BD are most likely to have sustained improvement in symptoms following laparoscopic cholecystectomy. We aimed to determine whether cholecystectomy resulted in symptom relief and led to a reduction in the number of medical visits related to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms after surgery. Methods We performed a multi-institution retrospective review of all children < 18 years of age who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy for BD between January 2013 and April 2018 in our hospital system. GI symptoms and clinical visits related to a GI complaint were assessed preoperatively. Patients were followed for 2 years after surgery. At 6 months and 2 years postoperatively, symptoms and the rate of medical visits related to a GI complaint were quantified and compared to the preoperative values. Results In total, 45 patients met our inclusion criteria. Of these, 82% of patients were female. The average age was 14 years old (+/- 2.6) and 56% of patients met the criteria for being overweight or obese. The mean gallbladder ejection fraction was 13% (+/- 10.8). All patients had abdominal pain, 82% (37/45) presented with nausea, and 51% (23/45) presented with post-prandial pain. Six months postoperatively, 58% of patients experienced resolution of their abdominal pain which decreased to 38% of patients after 2 years. Similarly, 59% had resolution of their nausea at 6 months compared to 43% at 2 years, and 100% had resolution of their post-prandial pain at 6 months compared to 91% at 2 years. The total number of clinical visits related to a GI complaint decreased from 2.6 (+/- 2.4) preoperatively to 1.0 (+/- 1.3) within 6 months postoperatively. When followed to 2 years postoperatively, the 6-month rate of clinical visits related to a GI complaint decreased from a mean of 2.6 preoperatively to 0.71 following surgery. Conclusions Following cholecystectomy, we observed a high percentage of durable symptom resolution in those patients with BD who presented with post-prandial pain. Patients with non-food-related abdominal pain, with or without nausea and vomiting, had a lower rate of symptom resolution after surgery and the rate declined with time. For patients without post-prandial pain, evaluation and treatment of alternative sources of pain should be considered prior to surgery. Regardless of their presenting symptoms, patients who underwent surgery for BD had fewer clinical GI-related visits after surgery. However, no specific gallbladder ejection fraction or symptom alone was predictive of a lower rate of clinical visits postoperatively.

Publication date

  • 2021

Published in

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0179-0358

Number of pages

  • 7

Start page

  • 1251

End page

  • 1257


  • 37


  • 9