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What is Gallstones?
What is Gallstones?
Gallstones are small solid chunks that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small organ located below the liver and is responsible for the storage and release of bile, which helps in the digestion process. Gallstones vary in size, from the size of a grain to the size of a golf ball. Gallstones usually do not cause any symptoms until they block a bile duct. The blockage causes excruciating pain that requires immediate medical attention.
Causes of Gallstones
Excessive cholesterol in the bile
Concentrated or thick bile
Family history of gallstones
Symptoms of Gallstones
Pain in the upper abdomen. Right side, under the ribs
Indigestion, heartburn, and gas
Yellow or jaundiced eyes and skin
Diagnosis & Gallstones Procedure
Based on the severity of the pain, the doctor might conduct a physical examination and order diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of gallstones. Some of the common gallstone diagnostic tests include:
- Blood tests
- Ultrasound & CT Scan
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography(MRCP)
- HIDA scan or Cholescintigraphy
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
In most cases, gallstones do not cause any discomfort or pain and pass through the body on their own. However, for bigger gallstones, the onset of severe abdominal pain is a sign of requiring immediate gallstones surgery intervention. There are two main types of gallstones surgery, which are:
Open cholecystectomy: An invasive surgical technique, this gallstone surgery involves the removal of the gallbladder. The surgeon makes sizeable cuts in the abdomen and removes the gallbladder. Post-op care requires the patient to stay at the hospital for a few days.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common and preferred gallstone surgery and is the least invasive. This gallstone treatment entails the insertion of a narrow tube into the abdomen. Via another minor cut, the gallbladder is removed, thus eliminating the condition. It’s a one-day procedure, and the patients generally go back home the same day.