Reassessing the need for prophylactic surgery in patients with porcelain gallbladder case series and systematic review of the literature

Zarrish S. Khan, Edward H. Livingston, Sergio Huerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the risk of gallbladder cancer (GBC) in patients with a porcelain gallbladder (PGB). Design: Retrospective analysis of our institutional experience and a systematic review of the literature. Setting: Academic teaching facility, Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center (all in Dallas, Texas). Patients: Medical records of 1200 cholecystectomies performed between 2008 and 2009 at Parkland Memorial Hospital, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center were reviewed. Patients with radiologic or histologic evidence of PGB or GBC were included. Main Outcome Measures: The risk of GBC in patients with a PGB was assessed by contingency table analysis. Results: We identified 13 patients with a PGB among 1200 cholecystectomies (1.1%). Most of these patientshad concomitant gallstones (n=9). None of the patients with a PGB had evidence of carcinoma. We also reviewed the histologic analysis results of 35 cases of GBC operated on between 1997 and 2009; none of these had gallbladder wall calcifications. Most patients underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy without any postoperative complications. We reviewed 7 published series that included 60 665 cholecystectomies. The overall incidence of PGB was 0.2%, and GBC occurred in 15% of the PGB cases. Most cases of GBC occurring in PGB were found in the older literature; in the contemporary series, there were few reports of GBC associated with a PGB. Conclusions: Porcelain gallbladder is only weakly associated with GBC. Prophylactic cholecystectomy is not indicated for PGB alone and should be performed only in patients with conventional indications for cholecystectomy. A laparoscopic approach is appropriate for most patients with a PGB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1147
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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