Matteo Bolcato1, Matteo Sanavio1, Anna Aprile1, Andrea Piccioni2, Marco Trabucco Aurilio3


1Legal Medicine,  Department of Molecular Medicine, Legal Medicine, University of Padua, Padua, Italy - 2Emergency Medicine Department, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” IRCCS, Rome, Italy - 3Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V. Tiberio”, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy


Introduction: Congenital agenesis of the gallbladder is an uncommon anatomical variation. This congenital disease is usually asymptomatic, although some affected individuals may have a clinical picture suggesting gallbladder disease. 

Case presentation: A 31-year-old woman entered the emergency room with nonspecific abdominal symptoms, compatible with a gallbladder disease. The patient underwent many ultrasounds and an MRI cholangiography that did not display the gallbladder. Despite the negative results, doctors suspected lithasic cholecystitis, due to persistent symptoms, and suggested a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. However, after converting the surgery to laparotomy and performing an intraoperative cholangiography, surgeons diagnosed a gallbladder agenesis. 

Conclusion: The present case raises two interesting medico-legal issues related to surgical indication and informed consent. Clinical knowledge of this case and the medico-legal implications can be useful to any healthcare professional in order to increase the safety of treatments and prevent adverse events.


gallbladder agenesis, congenital abnormalities, informed consent, medico legal evaluation.