Gallbladder & extrahepatic bile ducts

Gallbladder nonneoplastic


Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 20 January 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cholesterolosis[TI] gallbladder

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2020: 7,246
Page views in 2021 to date: 6,360
Cite this page: Gulwani H. Cholesterolosis. website. Accessed September 21st, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Present in 20% of cholecystectomy specimens, usually adult multiparous women
  • Asymptomatic
  • Associated with bile supersaturation with cholesterol but not with increased serum cholesterol
  • Due to accumulation of cholesterol esters and triglycerides in subepithelial macrophages and gallbladder epithelium
Gross description
  • Yellow, flat deposits on mucosal surface, focal or diffuse
  • May have speckled appearance ("strawberry gallbladder"), 20% are associated with cholesterol polyps
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Foamy macrophages in lamina propria and epithelium
  • Villous mucosal hyperplasia with macrophages at tips of villi
  • Usually no or minimal cholecystitis
  • May be polypoid, rarely with heterotopic bone (Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:895)
  • Usually changes are restricted to gallbladder and don't involve extrahepatic bile ducts
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Andrey Bychkov, M.D., Ph.D. and Jijgee Munkhdelger, M.D., Ph.D.

Mucosal projection

Abundant macrophages

Images hosted on other servers:

Lipid laden histiocytes in lamina propria

Positive stains
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02