ZocdocAnswersDo gallbladder polyps have any symptoms?

Question

Do gallbladder polyps have any symptoms?

I had some pain in my sides that I got an ultrasound for, at which time the doctor said I had gallbladder polyps. I'm kind of suspicious of this diagnosis, though, because he says that the polyps themselves weren't causing any pain. Which is it? What do poplyps do to your gallbladder?

Answer

Gallbladder polyps are growths that extend from the inner wall of the gallbladder. These polyps are common, and are increasingly diagnosed due to the more prevalent use of ultrasound imaging. Polyps have been found in anywhere from 1.5 to 13 percent of gallbladders removed surgically. Most often these polyps are hyperplastic (benign growths) or represent deposits of cholesterol and other fatty material. More rarely, the polyps are cancerous or have the potential to eventually transform into a cancer. Typically, gallbladder polyps are not thought of as causes of abdominal pain. Theoretically, if the polyps were large and/or located near the opening of the gallbladder, they could interfere with the normal drainage of bile out of the gallbladder and cause symptoms similar to those potentially caused by gall stones. If all other possible causes of your symptoms of pain are ruled out, then it is worth reconsidering the gallbladder polyps as a cause of your pain. You should also have a discussion with your physician about the plan for monitoring your gallbladder polyps. Polyps that are at least 2 centimeters long are almost always cancerous and removal of the gallbladder is the recommended treatment. For polyps between 1 and 2 centimeters, surgery is often recommended as well. Smaller polyps are typically followed with ultrasound every 6-12 months.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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