Friday, October 30, 2009

Gallbladder Polyps

58 year old Chinese man with history of constipation walks in for an abdominal ultrasound scan. A recent colonoscopy was normal.

2 small gallbladder polyps were found. Both measure 2mm in diameter. Otherwise, the gallbladder is normal. No signs of acute or chronic cholecystitis. The rest of the abdomen is normal.

Polyps in the gallbladder are common. In the Western world, the prevalence is about 4 pc but in the Chinese, it can be as high as 9.5%*.

Gallbladder polyps do not necessarily imply that one is at increased risk of cancer. Majority are cholesterol, muscle tissue or inflammatory tissue. The minority are adenomatous polyps, which like the typical colon polyps can progress to cancer.

The size of a gallbladder polyp can be a useful predictor of whether it's malignant or benign. Generally, gallbladder polyps that are smaller than 1 centimeter are usually noncancerous and require no treatment.

This patient was given assurance and a repeat ultrasound is scheduled after a year.

* Journal of Gastroenterol Hepatology 23 (6): 965–9

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