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Table 1 Pathological classification of acute cholecystitis (according to the definitions of the Tokyo Guidelines)

From: The HAC trial (harmonic for acute cholecystitis): a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial comparing the use of harmonic scalpel to monopolar diathermy for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in cases of acute cholecystitis

Edematous cholecystitis: first stage (24 days)

The gallbladder has interstitial fluid with dilated capillaries and lymphatics. The gallbladder wall is edematous. The gallbladder tissue is intact histologically, with edema in the subserosal layer.

Necrotizing cholecystitis: second stage (35 days)

The gallbladder has edematous changes with areas of hemorrhage and necrosis. When the gallbladder wall is subjected to elevated internal pressure, the blood flow is obstructed, with histological evidence of vascular thrombosis and occlusion. There are areas of scattered necrosis, but it is superficial and does not involve the full thickness of the gallbladder wall.

Suppurative cholecystitis: third stage (710 days)

The gallbladder wall has white blood cells present, with areas of necrosis and suppuration. In this stage, the active repair process of inflammation is evident. The enlarged gallbladder begins to contract and the wall is thickened due to fibrous proliferation. Intrawall abscesses are present and involve the entire thickness of the wall. Pericholecystic abscesses are present.