According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (MMC), gallbladder polyps are small tumours or growths sometimes discovered during tests. If the polyps are small (less than 10mm), they pose no risk, but if they are greater than 15mm, it is usually necessary to have them surgically removed as they increase the risk for gallbladder cancer.
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UMMC states that polyps below 10mm in size carry no specific symptoms, and the Merck Manuals agree, saying that gallbladder polyps generally have no symptoms.
UMMC states that large polyps are removed to avoid possible cancer-related conditions of the gallbladder such as carcinoma and cholangiocarcinomas. However, these conditions are considered rare by the Merck Manuals.
The Merck Manuals state gallbladder carcinoma is a cancerous type of tumour, typically seen in American Indians, people with large gallstones (greater than 3cm) and people with extensive gallbladder calcification. Symptoms include pain, weight loss and abdominal mass.
Cholangiocarcinomas are bile duct tumours seen in two in 100,000 people. When found, they are most often malignant. The Merck Manuals state only vague symptoms for this condition in the form of abdominal pain, weight loss and anorexia.
Gallbladder polyps do not directly cause symptoms in most people and are rarely found in people during testing. The Merck Manuals state, "They are found in about 5% of people during ultrasonography."
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