Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr.  2020 Sep;23(5):430-438. 10.5223/pghn.2020.23.5.430.

Cholecystectomy is Feasible in Children with Small-Sized or Large Numbers of Gallstones and in Those with Persistent Symptoms Despite Medical Treatment

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea


We investigated the clinical features and factors affecting the choice of treatment modality and the course of pediatric gallstone (GS) disease.
We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 65 patients diagnosed with GS using imaging studies between January 2009 and December 2017 were included.
This study included 65 patients (33 boys and 32 girls; mean age, 8.5±5.3 years; range, 0.2–18 years) who primarily presented with abdominal pain (34%), jaundice (18%), and vomiting (8%). Idiopathic GS occurred in 36 patients (55.4%). The risk factors for GS included antibiotic use, obesity, hemolytic disease, and chemotherapy in 8 (12.3%), 7 (10.8%), 6 (9.2%), and 4 patients (6.2%), respectively. We observed multiple stones (including sandy stones) in 31 patients (47.7%), a single stone in 17 (26.2%), and several stones in 17 (26.2%). GS with a diameter of <5 mm occurred in 45 patients (69.2%). Comorbidities included hepatitis, choledocholithiasis, cholecystitis, and acute pancreatitis in 20 (30.8%), 11 (16.9%), 11 (16.9%), and 4 patients (6.2%), respectively. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) was administered to 54 patients (83.1%), leading to stone dissolution in 22 patients (33.8%) within 6 months. Cholecystectomy was performed in 18 patients (27.7%) (mean age, 11.9±5.1 years). Most patients treated surgically had multiple stones (83%) and stones measuring <5 mm in size (89%), and 66.7% of patients had cholesterol stones.
Cholecystectomy is feasible in patients with small-sized or large numbers of GS and those with persistent abdominal pain and/or jaundice. UDCA administration with close follow-up is recommended in patients with uncomplicated GS.


Cholelithiasis; Child; Treatment
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