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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 December;55(12):817-22


language: Italian

Gallbladder carcinoma and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. An emerging problem

Romano F., Franciosi C., Caprotti R., Conti M., Musco F., Visintini G., Motta V., Uggeri F.


Background. Gallbladder cancer (GC) is reported in 1.5-3% of cholecystectomies. Since the introduction of laparoscopic surgery, cholecystectomies have increased and occult GC may therefore be more frequent.
Methods. Here we conduct a retrospective study on a series of 1200 LC performed between January 1991 and December 1998 at our Institution, to determine whether there was an increase in GC. We also evaluated the risk factors for this outcome and the possibilities of treatment, in case of unsuspected GC discovered after LC at histological examination. Seven cases of GC undiagnosed before surgery (0.6% of the study population) were submitted to LC (against 0.3% GC discovered after open surgery). The clinical course depended on the histopathologic stage of the cancer.
Results. After a median follow-up of 18 months (range 12-48), 2 pT1 patients were alive and well, 2 pT2 patients were alive and disease free (in 1 case after a surgical removal of a trocar site metastasis appeared 6 months after LC). The other 3 patients died, 2 (1 pT2 and 1 pT3) after an additional resection of the liver bed with lymph node dissection, due to peritoneal dissemination of the disease. In 2 cases we found a gallbladder polyp pre and intraoperatively, which proved to be a carcinoma.
Conclusions. Undiagnosed GC is on the increase with the introduction of LC. Polypoid lesions of the gallbladder, age >70 years: a long history of stones and a thickened gallbladder wall all represent significant risk factors. If one or more is present, examination of the gallbladder and a frozen section are recommended.

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