Gallbladder polyps

Background 

Gallbladder polyps or polypoidal lesion of the gallbladder is disease which primarily affects your gallbladder with tiny lesions occasions from the inner lining of the gallbladder. These lesions progressively increase in size to form polyps ( small lump inside the organ which grows from the inner lining of the organ). These polyps does not produce any specific symptoms and routinely detected during ultrasonography of the abdomen. However they are very frequently confused with gallbladder stone disease.

Cause of gallbladder polyps 

There are no cause specific cause for occurrence of polyps. They are sub divided according to there origins. Most commonly seen are cholesterol polyps( cholesterosis)  due to deposition of cholesterol crystals. The other common variant arising from lining of the gallbladder are adenomas and adenomyomatosis. They are variable in size right from 0.1cm to 3 cm.

Symptoms of gallbladder polyps 

Gallbladder polyps alone don’t cause any symptoms but long standing polyps are risk for gallbladder cancer. They can be frequently associated with  gallbladder stones which can pain in the recurrent right upper quadrant, lump in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen and unspecified symptoms like indigestion and bloating. 

Diagnosis and investigations

They are routinely picked up at ultrasonography of the abdomen. Size more then 1 cm should be looked with concern to rule out any gallbladder cancer. In any suspicion of cancer, your clinician will advice you to undergo Magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) of the abdomen to exactly evaluate the depth and extension of the polyps. Routine blood investigations will be also be advised by your clinician.

Treatment 

The treatment depends usually on the size of the polyps. 

  1. Observation and follow up– Asymptomatic polyps usually less then 0.5cm can be kept under observation and monitoring by ultrasonography every 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Surgical treatment– Surgery is treatment of the choice in the given situations ( polyps more then 0.5cm in size, multiple polyps, cholesterosis, adnenomyomatosis and ant suspicion of the cancer of the gallbladder) 

Laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery ( laparoscopic cholecystectomy) remains the gold standard surgery for the gallbladder polyps and gallbladder stones. This procedure can be performed as day care surgery. In some cases, patients will require hospital stay of 1-2 days. Recovery after surgery is excellent and patient can resume it’s working once they comfortable on pain relieving medications. 

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