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Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN
Tel: 020 7101 3377

Abdomen Ultrasound vs. Other Imaging Techniques: What's the Difference?

Gallbladder polyp

Gallbladder polyps are growths that protrude from the lining of the inside of the gallbladder. These polyps can be cancerous, but most gallbladder polyps are benign (noncancerous). Here are some key points about gallbladder polyps:

Types

  • Cholesterol Polyps: The most common type, composed mainly of cholesterol deposits.
  • Inflammatory Polyps: Caused by chronic inflammation.
  • Adenomyomatosis: A condition leading to the formation of polyps due to an overgrowth of the gallbladder wall.
  • Neoplastic Polyps: These include adenomas (benign tumors) and are considered pre-cancerous. In rare cases, polyps can be malignant (cancerous).

Symptoms

Gallbladder polyps often do not cause symptoms. They are usually discovered incidentally during imaging tests for other conditions, such as ultrasound examinations. However, if symptoms occur, they may resemble those of gallstones, including:

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion

Diagnosis

  • Ultrasound: The primary tool for detecting gallbladder polyps.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS): Offers more detailed images than a standard ultrasound and can be more effective in evaluating polyps.
  • MRI or MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography): Provides detailed images of the gallbladder and bile ducts.

Treatment

The treatment for gallbladder polyps depends on their size, number, and characteristics, as well as the presence of symptoms or risk factors for gallbladder cancer.

  • Observation: Small polyps (<10 mm) without suspicious features are often monitored with periodic ultrasound examinations.
  • Surgery: Gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) is recommended for polyps larger than 10 mm, rapidly growing polyps, or if there are other risk factors for gallbladder cancer. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically and is generally safe.

Risk Factors for Gallbladder Cancer

  • Polyps larger than 10 mm
  • Age over 50
  • A history of gallstones
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Prevention and Management

There’s no guaranteed way to prevent gallbladder polyps. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing cholesterol levels, may help reduce the risk of gallstones, which are associated with gallbladder issues.

If you’re diagnosed with gallbladder polyps, it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for monitoring or treatment, which may include regular check-ups to monitor the size and growth of the polyps.

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Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN

Telephone020 7101 3377