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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2003 September;49(3):217-24


language: English

Gallbladder cholesterol polyps and cholesterolosis

Sandri L., Colecchia A., Larocca A., Vestito A., Capodicasa S., Azzaroli F., Mazzella G., Mwangemi C., Roda E., Festi D.


Cholesterolosis of the gallbladder consists in an accumulation of cholesterol esters and triglycerides in the macrophages at gallbladder wall level and may be either diffuse or polypoid in form. A prevalence of 4-8% has been reported, particularly in the male sex; results concerning a relationship between cholesterolosis and lifestyle are controversial (alcohol intake, smoking habit), as well as the clinical and laboratory parameters, such as serum cholesterol and body mass index. Even more controversial is the relationship with gallstones which has been associated with the presence of cholesterol polyps only in a few surgical series. An increase in the activity of the cholesterol ester enzyme has been observed, in cholesterolosis patients, at gallbladder mucosa level which has led to the hypothesis of an increase in cholesterol ester deposit at this level; the hypothesis of an alteration in bile composition, in these patients, still remains to be elucidated. Ultrasonography is a sensitive tool in the diagnosis of cholesterolosis even if the use of echoendoscopy is becoming increasingly important in the differential diagnosis between benign and malignant polypoid lesions. Even if, in a few series, patients with polyps present a clinical pattern characterized by specific biliary symptoms, both in our experience and in that of others, symptoms are aspecific, the frequency of dyspeptic symptoms being comparable to that in the general population. The natural history of this lesion is, in general, benign and for polyps with size ranging from 6 mm to 10 mm a yearly follow-up with ultrasonography is advisable.

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