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Surgical removal of the gallbladder is done routinely. Stones in the common bile duct usually come from the gallbladder and can be harmful. The usual treatment for gallstones that are in the common bile duct is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and sphincterotomy. ERCP is an endoscopic procedure to remove stones from the common bile duct. More stones may enter the common bile duct from the gallbladder but it is not clear if the gallbladder should be removed preventively (prophylactic cholecystectomy) or if a wait‐and‐see policy (cholecystectomy deferral) would be better. We included 5 randomised trials with 662 participants out of 93 publications identified through the literature searches. The number of deaths was 47 in the wait‐and‐see group (334 patients) compared with 26 in the prophylactic cholecystectomy group (328 patients). This review of randomised clinical trials suggests that early removal of the gallbladder decreases the risk of death or of complications from gallstones. The number of patients (662) reviewed in this report prevents some of the subgroup analyses from being conclusive. Further clinical trials, particularly of high‐risk patients, would solve this problem.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of bile duct cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: December 22, 2016

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of gallbladder cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: June 30, 2016

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: December 23, 2016

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors).

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: August 18, 2017

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of unusual cancers of childhood such as cancers of the head and neck, chest, abdomen, reproductive system, skin, and others.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: November 16, 2017

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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