What Are Gallbladder Polyps?
Gallbladder polyps are growths or lesions that form on the inner lining of the gallbladder. Most gallbladder polyps are benign but in rare cases (about 5% of the time) they can be cancerous.
What Causes Gallbladder Polyps?
Causes of gallbladder polyps include:
- High cholesterol levels in the bile
- High salt levels in the bile
- Thickening of the gallbladder wall (adenomyomatosis)
Risk factors for developing gallbladder polyps include:
How Are Gallbladder Polyps Diagnosed?
Gallbladder polyps usually cause no symptoms and they are often discovered when a patient is examined or tested for another condition.
Imaging tests used to diagnose gallbladder polyps include:
What Is the Treatment for Gallbladder Polyps?
Patients who have no symptoms of gallbladder polyps usually do not require treatment. Doctors generally suggest regular monitoring with ultrasound to see if the polyp gets bigger.
Treatment for patients who are symptomatic involves surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) for:
- Polyps larger than 1 cm
- Patients with gallstones
- Patients with a high risk of developing cancer
- The size of the gallbladder polyp can often indicate whether it is cancerous
- Polyps that measure less than a half inch in diameter are usually benign
- Polyps larger than a half inch in diameter have a higher risk of becoming malignant (developing into cancer)
- Polyps larger than three-fourths of an inch have a high probability of being malignant
What Are Complications of Gallbladder Polyps?
Most gallbladder polyps do not cause any symptoms or complications.
The main complication of gallbladder polyps is gallbladder cancer, which occurs in about 5% of cases.