Day-only elective cholecystectomy

early experience and barriers to implementation in Australia

Helen Pham*, Corinna Chiong, Jane Louise Sinclair, Tony C. Y. Pang, Lawrence Yuen, Vincent W. T. Lam, Henry C. Pleass, Emma Johnston, Arthur J. Richardson, Michael J. Hollands

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Day-only laparoscopic cholecystectomy (DOLC) has been shown to be safe and feasible yet has not been widely implemented in Australia. This study explores the introduction of routine DOLC to Westmead Hospital, and highlights the barriers to its implementation. Methods: Routine day-only cholecystectomy protocol was introduced at Westmead Hospital in 2014. A retrospective review of patients who underwent elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy during a 12-month period in 2014 was compared to a 12-month period in 2018, to examine the changes in practice after implementation of a unit protocol. Data were collected on patient demographics, admission category, outcomes and re-presentations. Results: A total of 282 patients were included in the study, of these 169 were booked as day procedures, with 124 (73%) successfully discharged on the same day. There was a significant increase in the proportion of patients booked as day-only from 2014 to 2018 (48% versus 73%, P < 0.001). Day-only failure rates (unplanned overnight admissions), readmissions and complication rates were comparable between the two periods. The most common reason for unplanned overnight admissions were due to intraoperative findings (n = 28/45). Conclusion: Routine DOLC can be adopted in Australian hospitals without compromise to patient safety. Unplanned overnight admission is predominantly due to unexpected surgical pathology and can be reduced by protocols for the use of drains and planned outpatient endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. Unplanned outpatient review can be minimized by optimizing both intra- and post-operative pain management. Individual surgeon and anaesthetist preferences remain an obstacle to a standardized protocol in the Australian setting.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cholecystectomy
  • day surgery
  • early discharge
  • elective

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