BACKGROUND: Cholelithiasis is more frequent in patients after gastrectomy, due to dissection of vagal branches and gastrointestinal reconstruction.
METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted from November 2008 to March 2012. Patients were randomized into two groups: prophylactic cholecystectomy (PC) and standard gastric surgery only (SS) for curable cancers. We planned three end points: evaluation of the number of patients who developed symptoms and needed further surgery for cholelithiasis after standard gastric cancer surgery, evaluation of the incidence of cholelithiasis overall after standard gastric cancer surgery and perioperative complications or costs of prophylactic cholecystectomy. The present study answers to the last end point only.
RESULTS: After 40 months from the beginning of study, 172 patients were eligible from 9 Centers. Ten patients refused consent and 32 were excluded due to flawing of inclusion criteria (not confirmed adenocarcinomas and no R0 surgery). Therefore, final analysis included 130 patients: 65 in PC group and 65 in SS. Among PC group, 12 patients had surgical complications during the perioperative period; only 1 biliary leakage, conservatively treated, might have been caused by prophylactic cholecystectomy. 6 patients had surgical complications in SS group. One postoperative death occurred in PC group due to pulmonary embolism. Differences were not statistically significant. Similarly, no differences were significant in duration of surgery, blood loss, hospital stay.
CONCLUSIONS: Concomitant cholecystectomy during standard surgery for gastric malignancies seemed to add no extra perioperative morbidity, mortality and costs to the sample included in the study.