What is the gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped structure that is found attached to the liver. The bile duct is a tube that transports bile from the liver to the small intestine. The gallbladder is attached to the bile duct by a small tube called the cystic duct. Bile is collected in the gallbladder between meals and empties into the bile duct through the cystic duct during a meal.
What are gallstones?
Gallstones are stone-like substances that are found in the gallbladder. There are two types of gallstones: pigment stones and cholesterol stones. In the majority of patients cholesterol stones are present. In many people the cause for gallstones appears to be interaction between hereditary causes and the diet. Certain population groups such as the Latino population have a an increase tendency to form gallstones.
Gallstones are formed when the bile that is produced by the liver becomes very enriched with fatty substances. In the majority of patients with gallstones, the gallbladder wall is abnormal due to many previous episodes of inflammation. Removal of the stones only is associated with rapid development of new stones in the gallbladder.
What symptoms do gallstones cause?
Gallstone causes symptoms that are usually associated with eating a fat rich meal. Many patients develop pain in the right upper part of the abdomen that may last from few minutes to few hours. Some patients complain of indigestion, feeling fullness, and discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen after a meal.
How are gallstones diagnosed?
Gallstones are diagnosed by a radiological test called ultrasound. In this test the radiologist utilizes an instrument that sends sound waves to the gallbladder. The sound waves detect the stones, which are then seen on the ultrasound. An ultrasound is an excellent test for gallstones and diagnoses the stones in more than 98% of all patients with gallstones.
What are the complications associated gallstones?
Gallstones can cause many serious complications. Some of the complications
that are caused by gallstones include
How are gallstones treated?
Gallstones are treated by removal of the gallbladder by a procedure called cholecystectomy. Cholecystectomy can be performed through an open surgical incision and by laparoscopic surgery. In the past the gallbladder was removed through an open surgical incision.
Today the almost all gallbladder surgery is performed by laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is associated with a shorter hospitalization, less pain and discomfort after the surgery and a rapid recovery allowing many patients to go back to work within a short period of time after the surgery.
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