A selective approach to histopathology of the gallbladder is justifiable

F. P. Dix, I. A. Bruce, A. Krypcyzk, S. Ravi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Recent changes in the NHS have led to a considerably increased workload for histopathologists prompting the publication of guidelines from the Royal College of Pathologists regarding specimen analysis. In most hospitals, cholecystectomy specimens are routinely sent for histology regardless of whether or not there is any visible macroscopic abnormality suggestive of malignancy. Our aim was to assess whether it would be safe to adopt a policy of processing only suspicious gallbladders without compromising patient management and outcome. Methods: A retrospective analysis of all cholecystectomies performed between 1995 and 1999 was conducted using computerised histopathology records and patient notes. The histopathology department has a standardised procedure for the evaluation of cholecystectomy specimens and all gallbladders had been processed in this manner. Results: 1308 patients had undergone cholecystectomy (mean 262/year). All specimens had been sent for histology: 1249 of the specimens showed chronic cholecystitis, 38 acute cholecystitis or empyema and 16 were removed as part of another procedure. In five gallbladders there was evidence of primary carcinoma. In all cases the gallbladder was opened at the time of surgery (as commented upon in the operation notes) and all showed macroscopic evidence suggestive of carcinoma. Pre-operative ultrasound scanning identified probable carcinoma in three of the five cases. Conclusions: All cases of gallbladder carcinoma were diagnosed pre-operatively or intra-operatively and a histological diagnosis did not alter the management or outcome of any of these patients. Selective histopathology of the gallbladder is safe and may be a more measured approach saving histolopathology departments time and money.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)233-235
    Number of pages2
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


    • Cholecystectomy
    • Gallbladder
    • Histology


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