The role of body mass index class in cholecystectomy after acute cholecystitis: An American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program analysis

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Obesity is a risk factor for cholelithiasis leading to acute cholecystitis which is treated with cholecystectomy. The purpose of this study was to analyze the associations between body mass index class and the intended operative approach (laparoscopic versus open) for and outcomes of cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data from 2008–2013. The effects of body mass index class on intended procedure type (laparoscopic versus open), conversion from laparoscopic to open operation, and outcomes after cholecystectomy were examined using multivariable logistic regression.


Data on 20,979 patients who underwent cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis showed that 18,228 (87%) had a laparoscopic operation; 639 (4%) of these patients required conversion to an open approach; and 2,751 (13%) underwent intended open cholecystectomy. There was an independent association between super obesity (body mass index 50+) and an intended open operation (odds ratio 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.14–2.05, P = .01). An intended open procedure (odds ratio 3.10, 95% confidence interval 2.40–4.02, P < .0001) and conversion (odds ratio 3.45, 95% confidence interval 2.16–5.50, P < .0001) were associated with increased risk of death/serious morbidity in a model, even when controlling for all other important factors. In the same model, body mass index class was not associated with increased death/serious morbidity. Outcomes after conversion were not substantially worse than outcomes after intended open cholecystectomy.


This study supports the possibility that an intended open approach to acute cholecystitis, not body mass index class, is associated with worse outcomes after cholecystectomy. An initial attempt at laparoscopy may benefit patients, even those at the highest end of the body mass index spectrum.

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