Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Ultrasonographically detected gallbladder polyps: A reason for concern? A seven-year follow-up study

Wolfgang Kratzer1*, Mark M Haenle1, Andrea Voegtle1, Richard A Mason2, Atilla S Akinli1, Klaus Hirschbuehl3, Andreas Schuler4, Volker Kaechele1 and the Roemerstein study group

Author Affiliations

1 Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Klinik für Innere Medizin I, Universitätsklinikum Ulm, Robert-Koch-Str. 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany

2 University Hospitals of Cleveland Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve, University School of Medicine 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA

3 Zentralklinikum Augsburg, Abteilung Innere Medizin I, Stenglinstr. 2, 86156, Augsburg, Germany

4 Helfensteinklinik Geislingen, Medizinische Klinik, Eybstr. 16, 73312 Geislingen, Germany

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BMC Gastroenterology 2008, 8:41  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-8-41

Published: 15 September 2008



The management of coincidental detected gallbladder polyps (GP) is still nebulous. There are few published data regarding their long-term growth. Objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence and growth of gallbladder polyps in a survey of unselected subjects from the general population of a complete rural community.


A total of 2,415 subjects (1,261 women; 1,154 men) underwent ultrasound examination of the gallbladder, in November 1996 as part of a prospective study. Subjects in whom GP were detected at the initial survey underwent follow-up ultrasound examinations after 30 and 84 months.


At the initial survey gallbladder polyps were detected in 34 subjects (1.4%; females: 1.1%, range 14 to 74 years; males: 1.7%, range 19 to 63 years). Median diameter was 5 ± 2.1 mm (range 2 to10 mm) at the initial survey, 5 mm ± 2.8 mm (range 2 to 12 mm) at 30 months and 4 ± 2.3 mm (range 2 to 9 mm) at 84 months. At the time of first follow-up no change in diameter was found in 81.0% (n = 17), reduction in diameter in 4.8% (n = 1) and increase in diameter in 14.3% (n = 3). At the time of second follow-up no increase in polyp diameter was found in 76.9% (n = 10) and reduction in diameter in 7.7% (n = 1). No evidence of malignant disease of the gallbladder was found.


Over a period of seven years little change was measured in the diameter of gallbladder polyps. There was no evidence of malignant disease of the gallbladder in any subject.