In-Person Clinic Visits After Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: Lessons Learned From COVID-19 Pandemic

Lucas Fair*, John J. Squiers, Jennifer Misenhimer, Matthew Perryman, Kimberly Jacinto, Somer Blair, James Michael-Blackwell, Forrest Moore, Carlos Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The utility of routine in-person clinic appointments after laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is uncertain, especially after the increase of telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of routine in-person follow-up for patients undergoing LC prior to changes implemented during the pandemic and to determine whether a return to routine in-person follow-up is warranted. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed follow-up encounters for all patients undergoing LC from April 2018 to February 2020. All patients were routinely scheduled for in-person postoperative clinic follow-up 2-4 wk after discharge. Follow-up was considered nonroutine if new studies or medications were ordered, the patient was referred to the emergency department or readmitted, or malignancy was identified on pathology review. Results: Of 661 patients undergoing LC, 449 (68%) attended their scheduled in-person postoperative appointment and 212 (32%) did not. The postoperative appointment was nonroutine for 39 patients (9% of clinic attenders). Readmission occurred in 42 patients, with no differences between clinic attenders and nonattenders (P = 0.12). Furthermore, attending a postoperative clinic visit did not affect odds of readmission (odds ratio: 0.705, 95% confidence interval: 0.368, 1.351; P = 0.29). Readmission occurred on median day 9 after discharge in both groups. Conclusions: The incidence of nonroutine follow-up after LC is low, and attendance at follow-up clinic was not associated with reduced readmissions. A return to routinely scheduling in-person follow-up 2-4 wk after discharge may not be warranted. Telehealth visits within 1 wk of discharge after LC should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-402
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Follow-up
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Readmission
  • Telehealth


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