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Open Access Research article

Routine histopathology of gallbladder after elective cholecystectomy for gallstones: waste of resources or a justified act?

Faisal G Siddiqui1*, Ahmer A Memon1, Arshad H Abro1, Nazeer A Sasoli1 and Lubna Ahmad2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Liaquat University of Medical & Health Sciences, Jamshoro 71000, Pakistan

2 Department of Gynea & Obs, Liaquat University of Medical & Health Sciences, Jamshoro 71000, Pakistan

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BMC Surgery 2013, 13:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-13-26

Published: 8 July 2013

Abstract

Background

Selective approach for sending cholecystectomy specimens for histopathology results in missing discrete pathologies such as premalignant benign lesions such as porcelain gallbladder, carcinoma-in-situ, and early carcinomas. To avoid such blunders therefore, every cholecystectomy specimen should be routinely examined histologically. Unfortunately, the practice of discarding gallbladder specimen is standard in most tertiary care hospitals of Pakistan including the primary investigators’ own institution. This study was conducted to assess the feasibility or otherwise of performing histopathology in every specimen of gallbladder.

Methods

This cohort study included 220 patients with gallstones for cholecystectomy. All cases with known secondaries from gallbladder, local invasion from other viscera, traumatic rupture of gallbladder, gross malignancy of gallbladder found during surgery was excluded from the study. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed in majority of cases except in those cases where anatomical distortion and dense adhesions prevented laparoscopy. All gallbladder specimens were sent for histopathology, irrespective of their gross appearance.

Results

Over a period of two years, 220 patients with symptomatic gallstones were admitted for cholecystectomy. Most of the patients were females (88%). Ninety two per cent patients presented with upper abdominal pain of varying duration. All specimens were sent for histopathology. Two hundred and three of the specimens showed evidence chronic cholecystitis, 7 acute cholecystitis with mucocele, 3 acute cholecystitis with empyema and one chronic cholecystitis associated with poly. Six gallbladders (2.8%) showed adenocarcinoma of varying differentiation along with cholelithiasis.

Conclusion

The histopathological spectrum of gallbladder is extremely variable. Incidental diagnosis of carcinoma gall bladder is not rare; if the protocol of routine histopathology of all gallbladder specimens is not followed, subclinical malignancies would fail to be identified with disastrous results. We strongly recommend routine histopathology of all cholecystectomy specimens.

Keywords:
Gallbladder malignancy; Cholelithiasis; Cholecystectomy