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more about Cholelithiasis

Gallstone disease


  • The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits on top of the liver where excess bile is stored. Bile is a substance that the body uses to help digest fatty foods.
  • Gallstones occur when the bile in the gallbladder becomes over concentrated (they precipitate out like the salt crystal lab experiments done by children in grade school) and form "stones" or crystals in the gallbladder or bile ducts.
  • Gallstones are predominantly of two types: 1) cholesterol (80%) and 2) Calcium bilirubinate (20%). When the crystals are located in the bladder itself, the condition is called cholelithiasis; when they are located in the bile ducts, the condition is called choledocholithiasis.

  • Often none
  • Pain in right upper abdomen

  • If there are no symptoms, treatment is unnecessary, except if the patient is diabetic. Diabetics with gallstones usually need them removed because they are at risk for sudden, severe infections and perforations of the gallbladder wall.
  • If you have symptoms of recurrent severe pain despite diet changes, and diagnosis has been confirmed through X-Ray or ultrasound:
    o Laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be performed in which the gallbladder is removed via a special technique using a camera scope inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall; or via open laparotomy (open surgical procedure).
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid-a medication that dissolves some cholesterol stones. It usually works very slowly (two years or longer with side effects, and therefore is rarely used).
  • Chenodial and other medications are also being used to dissolve the stones.
  • Sonic Shock waves

  • Cholecystitis/cholangitis-gallstones cause inflammation and infection of the gallbladder or ducts leading to the gallbladder. (See cholecystitis/cholangitis section.)
  • Pancreatitis-gallstones may pass though ducts into pancreas, causing blockage and inflammation.

more about Cholelithiasis

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