Subtotal cholecystectomy: early and long-term outcomes



In difficult gallbladders, partial or subtotal cholecystectomy (SC) has been described as a reasonable procedure with safe outcomes. Our aim was to look at our data on SC with respect to safety, morbidity and long-term outcome.


A retrospective analysis was performed for 3560 patients undergoing cholecystectomy from January 2010 to June 2016. For patients who underwent SC, demographics, intra-operative and follow-up details were analysed.


A total of 168 SC patients were included. 102 (60.7%) were male while 66 (39.3%) were female. The median age was 63 years (31-87). These patients were on follow-up for a median of 29 months (1.7-80). 153 were attempted laparoscopically and there were 25 (16.3%) patients which had open conversion. The rest of the 15 patients had open SC. Mean operative time 150 min (70–315) and average blood loss was 170 ml (50–1500). Median length of stay for these patients was 4 days (1–68). There were no common bile duct (CBD) injuries. We had 12 (7.1%) post-operative collections, 4 (2.4%) wound infections, 1 (0.6%) bile leak and 7 (4.2%) retained stones. Post-operative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was performed on 4 (2.4%) patients with successful retrieval of CBD stones. One patient has spontaneous passage of CBD stone. The rest of the two patients with very small retained stones in remnant gallbladder were successfully managed conservatively. There was no 30-day or operation-related mortality. No patient required a second operation.


SC is safe and feasible when encountering a difficult gallbladder.

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Correspondence to Wee Ming Tay.

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Drs. Tay, Toh, Shelat, Huey, Junnarkar, Woon and Low have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Tay, W.M., Toh, Y.J., Shelat, V.G. et al. Subtotal cholecystectomy: early and long-term outcomes. Surg Endosc 34, 4536–4542 (2020).

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  • Subtotal
  • Cholecystitis
  • Difficult gallbladder