Stepwise approach and surgery for gallbladder adenomyomatosis: a mini-review

Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2013 Apr;12(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/s1499-3872(13)60022-3.


Background: Gallbladder adenomyomatosis (GBA) is a hyperplastic disease affecting the wall of the gallbladder, with some typical features. It has historically been considered a benign condition, nevertheless recent reports highlighted a potential role of GBA in predisposing to malignancies of the gallbladder.

Data sources: We reviewed the literature concerning GBA from its identification until July 2012. Owing to the relative rarity of the disease, studies often are case reports or case series. Thus we herein report a summary of the key-points concerning diagnosis and treatment of GBA, easily applicable in everyday practice, rather than a systematic review. Also, results are integrated with our recent experience.

Results: In our experience, we observed a trend toward an increase of GBA during the last years, probably due to enhanced ultrasonographic technical advancements and physician's expertise. GBA has distinctive imaging features. Several recent reports highlight the potential risk of cancer associated with GBA; however the disease is still classified as a benign condition. Although its correlation with malignancy has not been demonstrated, it is prudent to recommend cholecystectomy in some cases. However, in selected asymptomatic patients, a wait-and-see policy is a viable alternative. We propose an algorithm, based on GBA pathological pattern (diffuse, segmental, localized or fundal), suitable for decision-making.

Conclusions: In symptomatic patients and if the diagnosis is doubtful, cholecystectomy is mandatory. Postponing surgery is an option to be offered to asymptomatic patients with low-risk GBA pattern who adhere to scheduled follow-ups.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomyoma / diagnosis
  • Adenomyoma / surgery*
  • Algorithms
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Cholecystectomy*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Endosonography
  • Gallbladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Gallbladder / pathology
  • Gallbladder / surgery*
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Patient Selection
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Treatment Outcome