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Polyp in gallbladder(6 Posts)
I saw GP a few weeks back with a niggling pain below ribs on right hand side. I wondered myself if it was gall bladder related, as I fit the five Fs profile . I also wondered if it was usual GI issues though as have been told I have IBS since late teens, I'm now 41. GP was very thorough and he did bloods & sent me for a scan. When the sonographer pressed down on my tummy below sternum it hurt like hell and felt like a very bad case of acid reflux! Anyway, upshot is that I have a 10mm polyp and I'm off to see a surgeon in a fortnight. Dr Google suggests that they generally leave them alone <10mm and take out if they are above the 10mm!! Trust me to be right on the borderline! I've also read that 10mm > can indicate a malignancy. I'm trying to be level headed about this, but starting to feel a tad EEK. Has anyone out there had experience of this and does anyone know what the surgeon might suggest?
Hi, surgeon (registrar) here.
If I saw you in clinic, I would explain that these polyps have malignant potential (I.e. They can turn into cancers) although it is unlikely to be nasty at the moment. I would see if you were suitable for an operation (in terms of general health, i.e. Not a 90year old with hundreds of medical problems) and if you were suitable, would probably recommend having the gallbladder removed as a preventative measure. It would be a joint decision, so if you were really anxious or against an operation, then I would offer an alternative of surveillance - i.e. A repeat USS in 6 months to see if it had grown, at which point we would have the discussion again. It is not possible to remove the polyp and leave the gallbladder. I would also go through what the operation entailed, and the risks/side effects. (Which I can do here if you like?)
Personally I think I would have the op at 10mm, but then I've never had to make the decision for myself. Good luck at the appointment.
Hi Wildfire, that's very useful, thank you very much for replying to my post. If you're happy to say more regarding risks/side effects that would be great though hopefully this would all be explained at clinic. My GP also said that the pain I've been experiencing may still be unrelated to the gallbladder. (He did say something about the polyp possibly moving about & blocking something which may explain intermittent ache?) He didn't mention the USS having picked up any stones either when he called about the polyp, so I'm assuming the scan only picked up the polyp. Out of interest, how long does it take for a polyp to grow to this size? I can't help wondering if all my IBS issues (which have been worse in the past) are maybe related to this gallbladder problem! If so they might go away with my gallbladder! Possibly too much to ask! ;)
I would think that polyps are usually not symptomatic. So whilst you might be lucky and have your pain resolved with removal of the gallbladder, I wouldn't count on it I'm afraid.
An operation to remove the gallbladder is done through keyhole surgery, so 4 small cuts on the tummy less than 1cm each. It is often a day surgery procedure, so home the same day, but plan on an overnight stay just in case as some people need to stay in. Recovery would be about 2 weeks off work and no driving, then up to 6 weeks before you are completely back to normal.
Risks include infections, bleeding, hernias through the cuts, blood clots in the leg or lung. These are all relevant to many types of surgery not just this one.
With this operation in particular, the most important risk is damaging the bile duct, an important tube that is connected to the gallbladder - if this is damaged it can mean you need a much bigger op and longer stay in hospital to repair it. Risk is about 1in 200, but higher if the gallbladder is infected, which yours shouldnt be. Second risk is a bile leak, which can mean further ops or procedures to sort out, again with a longer stay in hospital. Finally, there is always a chance that it is not possible to complete the operation with keyhole methods, meaning a bigger scar across the top of the tummy.
Please bear in mind that what I've said here is very generic - the surgeon in clinic will have your actual results to hand and may end up telling you something different, depending on what it says. Each case is different so wait to see what they recommend.
Forgot to add - most people dont miss their gallbladders, and have no problems after surgery, but there is a risk of longstanding diarrhoea after. There are medications you can have to treat that, but it can be a problem.
Many thanks Wildfire, I appreciate you taking the time to explain it all. To be honest, I'm deeply fearful of dvts, pes, etc and have only ever had a GA for a surgical management of miscarriage but I'm equally not too thrilled with the thought of a polyp in my gb! You've given me plenty of things to mull over before I see the surgeon. Thank you again.
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