Daytime May Be Better for Gallbladder Removal

Night surgeries linked to more invasive procedures, study finds

FRIDAY, Sept. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who require gallbladder removal are more likely to have a minimally invasive procedure if they have the surgery during daytime rather than at night, a new study says.

The study also found that it's safe for patients who arrive at the hospital at night to wait until the next day for the surgery.

The minimally invasive procedure is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and is one of the most common abdominal surgeries in the United States, according to the study's authors. A tiny video camera and special surgical tools are inserted through small incisions in the abdomen, the researchers said.

More invasive surgery, in which a large incision is made to remove the gallbladder, is called an open cholecystectomy, according to the researchers.

"The urgency of removing the gallbladder is a topic of much debate among medical professionals," study author Dr. Dennis Kim, a researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, said in an institute news release.

"We found patients who underwent the surgery during normal working hours were more likely to have the minimally invasive surgical procedure than those undergoing the procedure at night. Those undergoing nighttime surgeries -- to a greater extent -- experienced more invasive gallbladder removal," Kim said.

Kim and colleagues looked at data from more than 1,100 patients who underwent gallbladder removal and found that 11 percent of the procedures performed at night (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) were open cholecystectomies, compared with 6 percent of surgeries performed during the day.

Length of hospital stay and complication rates were similar for both types of surgery, according to the study published online Sept. 22 in the American Journal of Surgery. However, the researchers noted it was difficult to track long-term complications due to a lack of follow-up records on the patients.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about gallbladder removal.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Published on September 26, 2014

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