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Gallbladder Polyps: Real or Imagined?

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The finding of gallbladder polyps on imaging studies prompts further workup. Imaging results are often discordant with final pathology. The goal of this study is to compare polypoid lesions of the gallbladder found on preoperative ultrasound (US) with final pathologic diagnosis after cholecystectomy to help guide clinical decision-making. A retrospective study was conducted identifying adult patients who were diagnosed with polyps via US and who underwent cholecystectomy from 2008 through 2015. Imaging data, final pathology, and demographics were manually reviewed. A total of 2290 cholecystectomy patients had US-based polyps. Of these, 1661 patients (73%) did not have polyps on final pathology; primarily, stones or sludge were identified. Adenomyosis was diagnosed in 61 patients (2.7%). A total of 556 patients (24.2%) had pathologic polypoid lesions with the following breakdown: 463 (20.2%) cholesterol polyps, 43 other benign polyps (1.8%), 40 adenomas (1.7%), and 10 adenocarcinomas (0.4%). All patients with adenocarcinoma were older than 40 years and 91 per cent had US findings of polyps >10 mm. Ultrasound alone is an unreliable method of detecting real gallbladder polyps. This large database study found a very low risk of cancer. Size on US and patient age should be considered in the selection of appropriate surgical candidates with sonographic “polyps.”
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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