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Know More About Gall Stone Diseases

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, M.Ch - Surgical Gastroenterology/G.I. Surgery, Fellowship in Hepatobiliary Surgery & Liver Transplantation, International Visiting Scholar
Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad  •  18 years experience
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Causes, symptoms, and treatment of Gall Stone Diseases

Hello, friends, i am Dr. Parthasarathy, surgical gastroenterologist HPB and minimal access surgeon practicing in Hyderabad. I specialize in the treatment of complex problems of the liver, pancreas, and cancers of the digestive tract, and also specialize in advanced laparoscopic surgeries of the abdomen. It is experienced in this field for more than a decade, there is one particular problem which is very commonly encountered in my practice, and that is gallstone disease so today I shall be talking to you about this problem.

Before understanding what is this stones of the gallbladder one has to know what gallbladder is. The gallbladder is a small sack, a pear-shaped organ which is located attached to the liver whose main function is to store bile. Bile is a digestive juice which is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder and when a person eats this stored bile is released into the intestine and it helps the digestion of the fat. So this is exactly the function of the gallbladder the liver secretes bile all through the day. But we eat only thrice a day or four times a day, so all the secreted bile is stored in the gall bladder and then released as in when needed. This bile contains cholesterol, so for various reasons sometimes stones can form in the gallbladder and that is when it becomes a problem. What are the problems these stones in the gallbladder can cause, number one it can cause repeated attacks of pain, gallstone pain typically happen on the right upper side of the abdomen just below your right rib cage, and it can radiate to your shoulder to the back or to the central abdomen. This is, in fact, one of the minor problems which it can cause it can also lead to serious complications when the stone slips and blocks the outlet of the gallbladder the secretes in the gallbladder can get accumulated, can get a lot of pressure and cause an inflammation of the gallbladder and swelling which in medical terms we call acute cholecystitis which is a life-threatening problem.

Sometimes the gallstone if they are very small they can slip into the bile duct which is a tube which carries the bile to the intestine from the gallbladder and block the bile duct and when the flow of bile is blocked bile cannot get drained into the intestine, there is a back pressure on the liver and the patient can develop jaundice. more dangerously sometimes these stones can block the tube of the pancreas, the pancreatic duct and the bile duct have a common opening and when these stones block the outlet of the pancreas they can cause a life-threatening problem called acute pancreatitis. Having said all this, these complications are quite rare meaning majority of the patients with gall bladder stones do not develop these life-threatening complications and a most common problem which they come to me with is a pain. Any stone in the gall bladder which causes or has caused pain in the past needs treatment. So the final word is asymptomatic gall bladder stones meaning silent stones do not need treatment.

Patients who have symptomatic gall bladder stones meaning who are presently experiencing a pain because of the gallstone or who have had pain in the past need treatment so what treatment is effective for gall bladder stones. Number one there is no medical treatment which is effective for treating gall bladder stones, unlike kidney stones medicines do not dissolve gallbladder stones, the only treatment option for a gallstone is surgery. What surgery the surgery of choice for this is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy wherein its a keyhole surgery through which the gallbladder is removed completely.

Removal of the stones alone is not sufficient in treating gallbladder stones the gallbladder has to be removed completely to get rid of the problem even though the gallbladder is an organ with some functions in the body it can be safely removed without causing any major defects or problems in your digestion. So after undergoing surgery for removal of the world murder one can continue to eat all that he was eating before the operation. He does not lose any digestive power; the body automatically adapts to the loss of gall bladder and continues with its normal digestive functions.

Feel free to contact me for further queries and clarifications on any of your gastro related issues. Thank you.

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