A new operation for gallstones: Choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy, a retrospective study of 3,511 cases

Published:September 08, 2022DOI:



      Due to the influence of traditional Chinese culture, many cholelithiasis patients refuse to undergo cholecystectomy. This has prompted surgeons to consider a new treatment option for gallstones, which preserves the gallbladder, termed as choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy. In this study, we reviewed the clinical outcomes of 23 years of single-center application of choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy.


      A total of 5,451 patients with chronic cholelithiasis were selected from 1992 to 2011 as per the inclusion criteria for the choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy study, and clinicopathological and follow-up data were collected from 4,340 patients who underwent successful choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy. The endpoints of the follow-up were recurrence of stones, loss to follow-up, patient death, removal of the gallbladder for other reasons, or end of follow-up in December 2015.


      All 4,340 cases underwent choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy with a mean procedure time of 79.6 ± 35.4 minutes, among which 3,511 (80.9%) received at least 1 follow-up. The recurrence rate of gallstones gradually increased with increasing follow-up duration, with a recurrence rate of 0.83% within 1 year after surgery and a maximal cumulative recurrence rate of 7.94% at 23 years. The 5-year cumulative recurrence rate of gallstones in the age group ≤20 years was 16.80%, which was significantly higher than those of other age groups, and the 5-year recurrence rate in the single gallstone group was 2.87%, which was significantly lower than that in the multiple gallstone group. Age and number of gallstones were independent risk factors for gallstone recurrence after choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy.


      The recurrence rate of gallstones after choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy is low, and most patients with recurrence are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. Age and number of gallstones were independent risk factors. Choledochoscopic gallbladder-preserving cholecystolithotomy is a safe and effective surgical option for gallstone removal in patients who do not wish to undergo cholecystectomy.
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