Routine preoperative laboratory analyses are unnecessary before elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy

T. N. Robinson, W. L. Biffl, E. E. Moore, J. K. Heimbach, C. M. Calkins, J. Burch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: We formulated a clinical pathway (CP) for elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC), which included the following preoperative evaluation: history and physical (H&P), right upper quadrant ultrasound (US), and liver function tests (LFTs). We hypothesized that routine LFTs did not alter management beyond that dictated by H&P and US, and could be excluded from the CP. Methods: The study involved 387 consecutive patients undergoing elective LC. Abnormalities in the preoperative evaluation were compared with the finding of choledocholithiasis or other unexpected outcomes. Results: In 187 (48%) patients, abnormalities were found by H&P (n = 7), US (n = 13), and LFTs (n = 177). Seven patients (2%) had documented choledocholithiasis; two had abnormal H&P; three had abnormal US; and four had abnormal LFTs. No patient with choledocholithiasis had abnormal LFTs but normal H&P and US. Conclusions: Routine LFTs before elective LC are not cost effective. Before LC H&P and US are warranted, but LFTs do not add any useful information and should not be routinely measured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-441
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Clinical pathway
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Liver function tests
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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