A decade of experience with injuries to the gallbladder

Ball, Chad G.; Dixon, Elijah; Kirkpatrick, Andrew W.; Sutherland, Francis R.; Laupland, Kevin B.; Feliciano, David V.
January 2010
Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes;2010, Vol. 4, p3
Academic Journal
Background: Considering that injuries to the gallbladder are rare, the purpose of this study was to evaluate injury patterns, operative procedures and outcomes in patients with trauma to the gallbladder. A retrospective review of traumatic injuries to the gallbladder at an urban level 1 trauma center from 1996 to 2008 was performed. Injuries were identified via imaging or during operative exploration. Results: Injuries to the gallbladder occurred in 45 patients, 40 (89%) of whom suffered penetrating trauma. Associated injuries were present in 44 (98%) patients, including 10 (22%) pancreatic injuries requiring repair and/or drainage. Patients were severely injured (49% hemodynamically unstable at presentation; mean Injury Severity Score = 20; mean length of stay = 22 days; mortality rate = 24%). Cholecystectomy was performed in 42 patients (93%), while the remaining 3 had drainage only as part of a "damage control" operation related to their critical physiologic status. Injuries to the extrahepatic biliary ducts occurred in 3 patients (7%) as well. Although all patients developed trauma related complications, none were a direct result of their biliary tract injuries. Conclusion: Injuries to the gallbladder are rare even in the busiest urban trauma centers. Almost all patients have associated intra-abdominal injuries, and nearly 50% of patients are hemodynamically unstable on admission. Rapid cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice for all mechanisms of injury, except when the first operative procedure is of the damage control type.


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