Dr. Konstantinidis MD, PhD, FACS - General Surgeon & Director of Bariatric, Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgery of Athens Medical Center.
Gallbladder polyps are not usually a cause for serious concern. However, in some cases they are associated with the development of malignancy and involve the removal of the gallbladder to eliminate this risk.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is performed in an area that has several anatomical features and therefore requires delicate maneuvers and special knowledge of the relevant anatomy.
That is why the safest method of removing the gallbladder, when required, is robotic cholecystectomy.
Dr. Konstantinidis and his Surgical Team have many years of experience and specialization in performing robotic cholecystectomy and in fact through a single incision (Single-Site robotic cholecystectomy) of only 1cm!
What are Gallbladder Polyps?
A polyp is an abnormal tissue growth and can form in various parts of the body, including the gallbladder.
According to international statistics, gallbladder polyps affect up to 9.5% of the population.
There are three main types of gallbladder polyps:
Pseudopolyps: Pseudopolyps or “cholesterol polyps” are the most common type, accounting for 60-90% of all gallbladder polyps and are not cancerous. Their presence sometimes indicates an underlying gallbladder problem, such as chronic cholecystitis.
Inflammatory: They represent 5-10% of all gallbladder polyps and indicate the presence of inflammation in the gallbladder wall. They occur mainly in people who have experienced cholecystitis more than once or in people who have acute biliary colic, due to the presence of gallstones that block the bile duct. Inflammatory polyps are not associated with gallbladder cancer.
Adenomatous: This is a rare type, which has the potential to become cancerous. These polyps usually have a diameter of 5-20mm. Polyps larger than 1cm are more likely to develop into malignancy. In this case, removal of the gallbladder is recommended.
What are the symptoms of Gallbladder Polyps?
Gallbladder polyps do not always cause symptoms. In many cases, doctors discover them by chance, in an imaging test, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, carried out for another reason.
Sometimes, however, gallbladder polyps can cause the following symptoms:
- discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen
- motion sickness
- food intolerance
What Causes Gallbladder Polyps?
People with high levels of cholesterol or salts in their bile have an increased risk of developing gallbladder polyps.
Gallbladder polyps are also associated with the formation of gallstones.
According to scientific research, the following health issues may increase a person’s risk of developing adenomatous gallbladder polyps:
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Gardner Syndrome
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
- Hepatitis B, acute or chronic
What are the complications of Gallbladder Polyps?
Most gallbladder polyps are cholesterol or inflammatory polyps, which do not cause complications and are not associated with cancer.
The most important complication of adenomatous gallbladder polyps is gallbladder cancer.
How is Gallbladder Polyps diagnosed?
Detection of gallbladder polyps is done through imaging tests, such as:
- Ultrasonography: Helps determine if the underlying problem gallstones or polyps
- Computed tomography (CT): Ideal for detecting small polyps, as well as for detecting gallbladder cancer
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): Detects polyps in the gallbladder with great accuracy
How are Gallbladder Polyps treated?
Cholesterol and inflammatory polyps that are less than 1cm in size and do not cause symptoms do not require treatment.
However, once the polyps are detected, they are regularly monitored with ultrasonography to check for any increase in their size.
If a polyp grows 2mm or more after the latest check-up, then surgical removal of the gallbladder is recommended, with a procedure called cholecystectomy.
Cholecystectomy can be carried out with:
- Open surgery: This involves removing the gallbladder through a large incision under the right side of the chest.
- Minimally invasive method: This includes laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which involves the removal of the gallbladder through small holes that open in the abdomen, and robotic cholecystectomy, which minimizes the risk of complications and can be performed through a single incision of 1.5cm.
Why Dr. Konstantinidis?
Dr. Konstantinidis and his Surgical Team constitute a reference point in Greece for the treatment of gallbladder polyps with Robotic Surgery.
Robotic Surgery offers unique benefits for treating gallbladder polyps dramatically reducing the risk of postoperative complications.
Dr. Konstantinidis and his Surgical Team collaborate with leading specialists in all relevant medical specialties, such as Radiologists, Gastroenterologists, etc., in order to determine a treatment plan based on the specifics, needs and goals of each patient individually.