Curr Health Sci J, vol. 50, no. 1, 2024

Indication and Timing of Cholecystectomy in Acute Biliary Pancreatitis - Systematic Review

[Original Paper]

S.M. Piele(1,2), S.D. Preda(1,2), S. Patrascu(1,2), S. Laskou(3,4), K. Sapalidis(3,4), D. Dumitrescu(1,2), V. Surlin(1,2)

(1)University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova,
(2)Craiova Emergency Clinical County Hospital,
(3)Aristotel University of Thessaloniki,
(4)Third Clinic of Surgery of AHEPA Hospital Thessaloniki


Acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) poses significant challenges in determining the optimal timing and approach for cholecystectomy, particularly in mild, moderately severe, and severe forms. This article reviews the existing literature on cholecystectomy timing and its impact on outcomes in ABP. A systematic literature search yielded 41 relevant articles from PubMed and Scopus databases. In mild ABP, early cholecystectomy within 72 hours of onset is increasingly favoured due to reduced technical difficulty and lower risk of recurrent pancreatitis. Conversely, delayed cholecystectomy, although traditionally practiced, may lead to higher recurrence rates and prolonged hospital stays. For moderate severe ABP, evidence remains limited, but early cholecystectomy appears to decrease hospital stay without increasing perioperative complications. In severe ABP, consensus suggests delaying cholecystectomy until peripancreatic collections resolve, typically 6 to 10 weeks post-onset, to minimize surgical morbidity. The role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) alongside cholecystectomy remains contentious, with guidelines recommending its use in specific scenarios such as cholangitis or biliary obstruction. However, routine ERCP in mild ABP lacks robust evidence and may increase complications. Challenges persist regarding the management of residual choledocholithiasis post-ABP, highlighting the need for improved diagnostic criteria and management protocols. Overall, this review underscores the evolving landscape of cholecystectomy timing in ABP and provides insights into current best practices and areas for future research.

Acute, biliary, pancreatitis, cholecystectomy, ERCP.

Silviu Daniel Preda, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Craiova Emergency Clinical County Hospital, e-mail:

DOI 10.12865/CHSJ.50.01.16 - Download PDF