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HPB (Oxford). 2012 Jul;14(7):435-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2012.00471.x. Epub 2012 May 11.

Treatment and surveillance of polypoid lesions of the gallbladder in the United Kingdom.

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  • 1Hepatopancreatobiliary and Transplant Unit, St James' Hospital, Leeds, UK.



The increase in the routine use of abdominal imaging has led to a parallel surge in the identification of polypoid lesions in the gallbladder. True gallbladder polyps (GBP) have malignant potential and surgery can prevent or treat early gallbladder cancer. In an era of constraint on health care resources, it is important to ensure that surgery is offered only to patients who have appropriate indications. The aim of this study was to assess treatment and surveillance policies for GBP among hepatobiliary and upper gastrointestinal tract surgeons in the UK in the light of published evidence.


A questionnaire on the management of GBP was devised and sent to consultant surgeon members of the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons (AUGIS) of Great Britain and Ireland with the approval of the AUGIS Committee. It included eight questions on indications for laparoscopic cholecystectomy and surveillance based on GBP (size, number, growth rate) and patient (age, comorbidities, ethnicity) characteristics.


A total of 79 completed questionnaires were returned. The vast majority of surgeons (>75%) stated that they would perform surgery when a single GBP reached 10 mm in size. However, there was a lack of uniformity in the management of multiple polyps and polyp growth rate, with different surveillance protocols for patients treated conservatively.


Gallbladder polyps are a relatively common finding on abdominal ultrasound scans. The survey showed considerable heterogeneity among surgeons regarding treatment and surveillance protocols. Although no randomized controlled trials exist, national guidelines would facilitate standardization, the formulation of an appropriate algorithm and appropriate use of resources.

© 2012 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.

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