Gallbladder injuries resulting from blunt abdominal trauma: an experience and review

Ann Surg. 1981 Jan;193(1):60-6. doi: 10.1097/00000658-198101000-00010.


Over a seven-year period from 1973 through 1979, 31 patients with blunt gallbladder trauma were treated at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. Twenty patients had contusions, ten patients had avulsions and one patient had a perforation of the gallbladder. None of the gallbladder injuries were suspected preoperatively. Twenty-eight of the 31 patients had a diagnostic peritoneal lavage performed on admission, all were positive for blood; bile was not grossly evident. Among the 30 patients, there were 75 associated intraabdominal injuries; there were 25 liver injuries. Five patients died, none as a result of their gallbladder injury. Cholecystectomy is suggested as the definitive procedure of choice for severe contusions and for perforating and avulsive injuries to the gallbladder. Cholecystostomy is indicated in a few patients and should be regarded as a temporary procedure. A review of the English literature shows a total of 101 patients (including the 31 of this study) with gallbladder injuries secondary to blunt trauma. The most commonly reported injury was perforation. The 20 contusions described in the present study are the first such injuries reported.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contusions / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gallbladder / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peritoneal Cavity
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / mortality