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Xanthogranulomatous Cholecystitis: Catching the Culprit – Clinical and Imaging Analysis

Jain S.b · Saluja S.S.a · Sharma A.K.b · Sant H.b · Mishra P.K.a
Departments of aGastrointestinal Surgery and bRadiology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India Dig Surg 2012;29:187–193 (DOI:10.1159/000336985)


Background: Radiological and intraoperative findings of xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis (XGC) mimic carcinoma gallbladder (CaGB) leading to extended surgical resections and increased morbidity. We reviewed the clinical and CECT findings of histopathologically proven XGC and compared them with those of CaGB. Methods: The clinical and CECT findings from 22 patients with XGC were compared with 15 patients with CaGB manifesting as diffuse wall thickening. Results: GB wall thickness was similar in both groups (XGC 12.4 ± 3 mm, CaGB 13.9 ± 6.5 mm; p = 0.61). Intramural hypoattenuating nodules occupying >60% of the GB wall were suggestive of XGC, while the absence of nodules suggested CaGB (p = 0.017). The mucosal lining was intact and enhancing in XGC (20/22) and disrupted in CaGB (10/15; p = 0.001). Among adjacent organ infiltration, bile duct invasion resulting in obstruction was a significant finding in patients with CaGB (p = 0.04). Among XGC patients, 11 patients underwent radical cholecystectomy, 10 had open cholecystectomy and frozen section and 1 underwent bypass. Conclusions: Though there is an overlap between XGC and CaGB, the presence of intramural hypoattenuating nodules occupying >60% of the diffusely thickened GB wall with intact mucosal line and the absence of obstructive features suggest XGC. In the presence of such imaging features, frozen biopsy should be done before proceeding with mutilating radical surgery.


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