The surgical management of porcelain gallbladder is based on studies performed in 1931 and 1962, which indicated a correlation between porcelain gallbladder and carcinoma. We sought to evaluate the characteristics of patients with porcelain gallbladder and the risk for gallbladder carcinoma. The medical records of 10,741 cholecystectomies performed between 1955 and 1998 were reviewed and recorded. The pathology slides were evaluated for evidence of calcification and gallbladder carcinoma. Fifteen (0.14%) of 10,741 specimens were porcelain gallbladders. Ten patients (67%) had symptoms suggestive of biliary colic or cholecystitis. Five (33%) were asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally. All specimens demonstrated chronic cholecystitis and partial calcification of the gallbladder wall. Nine (60%) had cholelithiasis. None had gallbladder carcinoma by recent review of pathologic material. During this same period 88 (0.82%) patients had gallbladder carcinoma, none of which showed calcification of the wall. This report represents the largest modern review of porcelain gallbladders. No carcinoma was identified among patients with porcelain gallbladder. In addition no patient with gallbladder carcinoma had calcified gallbladder. With a better understanding of the natural history of the porcelain gallbladder the current management of these patients may change.
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