Published online Jun 14, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i22.2967
Peer-review started: December 30, 2019
First decision: January 18, 2020
Revised: March 27, 2020
Accepted: May 26, 2020
Article in press: May 26, 2020
Published online: June 14, 2020
Benign gallbladder diseases usually present with intraluminal lesions and localized or diffuse wall thickening. Intraluminal lesions of the gallbladder include gallstones, cholesterol polyps, adenomas, or sludge and polypoid type of gallbladder cancer must subsequently be excluded. Polyp size, stalk width, and enhancement intensity on contrast-enhanced ultrasound and degree of diffusion restriction may help differentiate cholesterol polyps and adenomas from gallbladder cancer. Localized gallbladder wall thickening is largely due to segmental or focal gallbladder adenomyomatosis, although infiltrative cancer may present similarly. Identification of Rokitansky-Aschoff sinuses is pivotal in diagnosing adenomyomatosis. The layered pattern, degree of enhancement, and integrity of the wall are imaging clues that help discriminate innocuous thickening from gallbladder cancer. High-resolution ultrasound is especially useful for analyzing the layering of gallbladder wall. A diffusely thickened wall is frequently seen in inflammatory processes of the gallbladder. Nevertheless, it is important to check for coexistent cancer in instances of acute cholecystitis. Ultrasound used alone is limited in evaluating complicated cholecystitis and often requires complementary computed tomography. In chronic cholecystitis, preservation of a two-layered wall and weak wall enhancement are diagnostic clues for excluding malignancy. Magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with diffusion-weighted imaging helps to differentiate xathogranulomatous cholecystitis from gallbladder cancer by identifying the presence of fat and degree of diffusion restriction. Such distinctions require a familiarity with typical imaging features of various gallbladder diseases and an understanding of the roles that assorted imaging modalities play in gallbladder evaluations.
Core tip: Benign gallbladder diseases generally present with intraluminal lesions and localized or diffuse wall thickening. To rule out gallbladder cancer, familiarity with typical imaging features of benign disorders is essential, as is an understanding of the roles that assorted imaging modalities play in gallbladder evaluations. Advanced imaging techniques, such as contrast-enhanced ultrasound, high-resolution ultrasound, and diffusion-weighted imaging, may be especially helpful in distinguishing benign and malignant gallbladder diseases.