Digestion Q&A by Dr. Lee

My doctor called me yesterday and told me I have no gallstones but have gallbladder polyps on ultrasound test. He also told me that I do not need surgery to remove them. Is it safe to live with gallbladder polyps? Can they become cancers?

Medical Author Dr. Dennis Lee
Medical Author Dr. Jay W. Marks

Answer:

Polyps in the gallbladder are common and often are found on ultrasound examinations of the abdomen. Typically, they are small and do not cause symptoms. Small gallbladder polyps (smaller than one centimeter in size) are almost always benign. Malignant polyps usually are larger than one centimeter, and the larger the polyp, the more likely it is to be malignant. It is recommended that polyps larger than one centimeter in size be removed surgically. Polyps between 1 and 1.8 centimeters in size can be removed by laparoscopic surgery. Larger polyps require open surgery. Polyps smaller than one centimeter in size can be followed with repeated ultrasound examinations. If they start to grow in size, most doctors recommend that they be removed surgically as well.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 11/21/2006