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What Are the Different Types of Gallbladder Polyps?

Gallbladder polyps are growths that emerge from the lining of the gallbladder, varying in type from harmless cholesterol polyps to the less common, yet potentially malignant, adenomyomatosis. Understanding their differences is crucial for effective treatment. How do these polyps affect your health, and what signs should prompt a visit to your doctor? Discover the implications for your wellbeing in our comprehensive guide.
Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer

Gallbladder polyps are generally benign clusters of cells that form on the interior lining of the gallbladder. Much less often found than gallstones, these polyps develop in 1-4% of the population. The five main types of gallbladder polyps are cholesterol polyps, adenomyomas, inflammatory polyps, adenomas, and neoplasms, and a very small fraction of them turn out to contain cancerous tissue. They are usually found via ultrasound conducted to check for other problems related to abdominal pain or to examine the liver.

The gallbladder is situation between the liver and intestine, which cannot be viewed with an endoscope. An ultrasound or computerized axial tomography (CT) scan is used to see and follow up on gallbladder polyps. Cholesterol polyps make up roughly 60% of all cases. They are not dangerous unless they break away and block the bile duct.

Gallbladder polyps form along the interior lining of the gallbladder.
Gallbladder polyps form along the interior lining of the gallbladder.

Adenomyomas are the second most common type of gallbladder polyps and comprise 25% of all cases. They cause the gallbladder wall to thicken, but are not a cause for concern unless they become segmentally distributed and their presence causes the gallbladder lumen to narrow and constrict. A small fraction of these can be cancerous, and surgical removal of the organ is usually done if segmentation is found.

Those who develop gallstones are more likely to also develop gallbladder polyps.
Those who develop gallstones are more likely to also develop gallbladder polyps.

10% of all gallbladder polyps are inflammatory polyps. Chronic inflammation of gallbladder tissue combined with granulation and fibrous tissues make up these polyps, which generally require no surgical action to correct the problem. A rarer type of polyp called an adenoma accounts for 4% of polyps inside the gallbladder. Of the adenomas that are cancerous, most are more than 0.47 inches (12 mm) across, and it is not believed that benign ones can become cancerous.

The gallbladder is situated between the liver and the intestines.
The gallbladder is situated between the liver and the intestines.

The fifth type of gallbladder polyps are neoplasms. While these are usually benign, they can include different kinds of malignancies and be up to 0.79 inches (20 mm) in size. If a patient is determined to be at risk for needing surgery in the future, an ultrasound is conducted every six months to observe any changes in polyp size. A common technique is an endoscopic ultrasound that can accurately examine gallbladder polyps to determine their exact nature. In most cases the level of concern over a polyp is directly related to its size, and usually periodic monitoring is all that is required.

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    • Gallbladder polyps form along the interior lining of the gallbladder.
      By: pixelcaos
      Gallbladder polyps form along the interior lining of the gallbladder.
    • Those who develop gallstones are more likely to also develop gallbladder polyps.
      By: roblan
      Those who develop gallstones are more likely to also develop gallbladder polyps.
    • The gallbladder is situated between the liver and the intestines.
      By: snapgalleria
      The gallbladder is situated between the liver and the intestines.
    • An ultrasound may be used to investigate gallbladder problems.
      By: acherst
      An ultrasound may be used to investigate gallbladder problems.
    • Gallbladder polyps may be examined using a CT scan.
      By: Hakan Kızıltan
      Gallbladder polyps may be examined using a CT scan.
    • Gallbladder polyps are often discovered through ultrasounds being conducted to determine the cause of abdominal pain.
      By: Halfpoint
      Gallbladder polyps are often discovered through ultrasounds being conducted to determine the cause of abdominal pain.
    • Gallbladder polyps may cause nausea.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Gallbladder polyps may cause nausea.
    • The gallbladder cannot be viewed with an endoscope.
      By: nobasuke
      The gallbladder cannot be viewed with an endoscope.