Pregnant women are no more likely to develop complications as a result of having their gallbladder or appendix removed than non-pregnant patients, a new study finds.
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine analyzed data of nearly 1,300 pregnant women and 51,000 nonpregnant women of similar ages.
Of those who had their appendix removed, about 4 percent of 800 pregnant women developed complications; about 3 percent of 19,000 nonpregnant women had a complication. Of women who had their gallbladder removed, the complication rate was 2 percent, regardless of whether the woman was pregnant or not.
There is no increased risk for pregnant women in need of surgery, said lead author Dr. Elisabeth Erekson. “If she has appendicitis, it is a good idea to proceed with surgery” if her doctor advises it, she added.
The findings, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, did not examine whether such surgeries posed risks to the fetus – although earlier research “tend to support that the fetus does well under anesthesia,” Erekson said.
“Often surgery is necessary in pregnancy and, in fact, it probably promotes not only the health of the woman, but her pregnancy as well,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, an obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was not involved in the study.