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Contribution of silent gallstones in gallbladder cancer.

Silent (asymptomatic) gallstones are detected frequently with the widespread use of abdominal ultrasonography. The presence of gallstones is found strongly associated with gallbladder carcinoma. Studies on the natural history and most decision analysis studies do not favor prophylactic cholecystectomy for patients with silent gallstones. Gallbladder carcinoma is known to be highly aggressive and lethal disease with a poor outcome. It is rarely diagnosed early and only 10-30% patients are offered radical surgery on presentation. This has lead to a dilemma leading most surgeons to opt for an expectant management of silent gallstones. It thus raises the important question of the implications of leaving asymptomatic gallstones untouched. In this paper the author has reviewed the current understanding on silent gallstones and gallbladder carcinoma.

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