May 1978

Calcified Gallbladder (Porcelain Gallbladder)

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery A, Asaf Harofe Hospital and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Zerifin, Israel.

Arch Surg. 1978;113(5):594-596. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370170056010

• Calcification of the gallbladder wall, otherwise known as porcelain gallbladder, is a relatively rare disease and is frequently asymptomatic. Symptoms suggestive of biliary disease are often absent in patients with this manifestation. Since the condition is uncommon, it is important to recognize the clinical as well as the roentgenographic characteristics of the disease because of the high frequency (22%) of adenocarcinoma in the porcelain gallbladder.

To our knowledge, no pathognomic sign of symptoms of the disease have been reported so far. Of five cases of porcelain gallbladder reported, carcinoma of the gallbladder was discovered in one patient. This disease seems to appear mostly in the sixth decade of life and is more prevalent in women. Diagnosis is made in most cases by a simple flat plate of the abdomen, and workup should include other roentgenographic examinations to exclude calcification of other viscera or the thoracic wall. Surgery should not be delayed even if the patient is asymptomatic since the occurrence of carcinoma in porcelain gallbladder is remarkably high.

(Arch Surg 113:594-596, 1978)