search for


Gallbladder-associated hospital admission and cholecystectomy rates across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (2004–2019): Are we over-intervening?
Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg
Published online April 6, 2022;
Copyright © 2022 The Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery.

Taha Mollah1,2, Harry Christie1, Marc Chia1, Prasenjit Modak2, Kaushik Joshi2, Trived Soni1,2, Kirby R. Qin3

1Department of Surgery, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia,
2Department of Surgery, Swan Hill Hospital, Swan Hill, VIC, Australia,
3Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Correspondence to: Taha Mollah
Department of Surgery, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, 3065, VIC, Australia
Tel: +61-3-9231-2311, Fax: +61-3-9231-3399, E-mail:
Received January 24, 2022; Revised March 11, 2022; Accepted March 17, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Backgrounds/Aims: To investigate if the increase in the number of cholecystectomies is proportional to symptomatic gallbladder-associated hospital admissions in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ).
Methods: National healthcare registries were used to obtain data on all episodes of cholecystectomies and hospital admissions for patients ≥ 15 years from public and private hospitals.
Results: Between 2004 and 2019, in Australia, there have been 1,074,747 hospital admissions and 779,917 cholecystectomies, 715,462 (91.7%) of which were laparoscopic, and 163,084 admissions and 98,294 cholecystectomies in NZ. The 15–54 years age group saw an increase in operative rates, +4.0% in Australia and +6.6% in NZ, and admissions, +3.7% and +5.8%, respectively. Hospital admissions decreased by –9.8% in Australia but the proportion of patients undergoing intervention increased by 10.8% (from 67.1% to 75.0% of hospital admissions). Procedural rates increased by +7.3% in NZ with no change in the intervention rate.
Conclusions: In Australia, there has been a decline in symptomatic gallbladder-associated hospital admissions and a rise in intervention rate. Admissions and interventions have increased proportionally in NZ. There are higher rates of cholecystectomy and admission amongst younger demographics, compared to historical cohorts. Future research should focus on identifying risk factors for increased disease and operative rates amongst younger populations.
Keywords : Gallbladder; Cholelithiasis; Cholecystectomy; Australia; New Zealand