What Are Gallbladder Polyps?

  • Medical Author:
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Ask the experts

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?

Doctor's response

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.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care REFERENCE:

"Gallbladder cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, clinical features, and diagnosis"

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Reviewed on 7/28/2017