The gallbladder is an organ beneath the liver and adjacent to the liver. The main function of the gallbladder is to store the bile produced by the liver. There are many diseases related to the gallbladder and the most common are gallbladder stone and gallbladder polyp.
Gallbladder stones are the most common gallbladder disease. Bile is produced by the liver and it is deposited in the gallbladder while flowing into the small intestine. The gallbladder, when necessary, contracts and allows the bile to flow into the duodenum for digestion of food. An increase or decrease in some of the components constituting the bile deposited in the gallbladder, result in sludges and they might precipitate in the gallbladder causing formation stones.
What Are the Symptoms of Gallbladder Stones?
Indigestion, bloating, nausea, pain in the upper right abdomen, pain in the right shoulder blade and back are symptoms that might emerge due to gallbladder stone.
Who are Likely to Have Gallbladder Stones?
- Overweight people
- Those who lose weight quickly
- Those who are on cholesterol drugs
- Patients with hereditary spherocytosis
Are gallbladder stones treated with medication?
Surgery is the only treatment for gallbladder stones that cause complaints. Trying to treat gallbladder stones with medication or herbal methods might result in life-threatening consequences. Gallbladder stones might cause many health problems if not treated. These problems include problems such as gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), inflammation of the biliary tract (cholangitis), gallbladder puncture, obstructive jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), and gallbladder cancer. Some of these problems might be fatal.
The most common cause of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in our country is gallbladder stones. Studies conducted suggest that an association between gallbladder cancer and gallbladder stones.
Considering the health problems that might emerge, it would not be wrong to draw an analogy between gallbladder stones and a time bomb. Patients with gallbladder stones might face a serious health problem at any moment.
Gallbladder stones might be detected by chance during an ultrasonography or might be detected during examinations for complaints such as severe pain in the upper right abdomen, jaundice, backache, bloating, nausea. The golden standard method for the diagnosis of gallbladder stones is ultrasonography. In patients suggestive of problems in biliary tract, some biochemical tests, tomography, MRCP, ERCP might be needed.
The only treatment method for gallbladder stones causing health problems, is surgery. Gallbladder surgeries are performed by experienced surgeons through closed method (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) at a rate of 95%. The inflammation history, previous surgeries and anatomical problems might cause this operation to be performed as an open surgery in some patients.
The issue of treatment for silent gallbladder stones that are detected by chance, must be discussed.
There are also suggestions that these gallbladder stones can be followed-up. However, since problems that gallbladder stones might cause, trigger the processes that might lead to death, doctor and the patient should decide on surgery or follow-up together by considering all risks.
Can Gallbladder Stone be Dissolved by Herbal Remedies?
Trying to dissolve or shrink gallbladder stones might cause fatal problems. Surgery is the only treatment for gallbladder stones.
How are Gallbladder Stones Diagnosed?
The golden standard method for diagnosing gallbladder stones is ultrasonography when hungry.
These are masses of soft tissue that form in the inner part of the gallbladder. They extend from the wall of the gallbladder into the sac.
Gallbladder polyps can be detected through gallbladder ultrasonography. Most patients with gallbladder polyps are followed-up, however, since some polyps increase the risk of gallbladder cancer, gallbladder surgery is recommended to some patients that have this risk.
Who should be operated in case of gallbladder polyp?
- If the size of gallbladder polyp is more than 10 mm
- If the size of polyp seems to increase rapidly during follow-ups
- If there is a single polyp
- If the polyp is sessile
- If the patient is over 50 years old
- If there is an abnormality in gallbladder wall adjacent to the polyp
- If there are complaints such as nausea, vomiting, etc along with polyp
These conditions increase the risk and these patients must be treated, if possible.
Closed Gallbladder Surgery
Today, the vast majority of gallbladder operations are performed by experienced surgeons as closed surgeries.
During gallbladder operations, not only gallbladder stones or gallbladder polyps are removed, but the entire gallbladder is removed. This is the only alternative to gallbladder surgeries. Performing the surgery closed or open does not change this situation.
Closed surgeries, i.e. laparoscopic surgeris are performed by pushing tools forward through small holes instead of performing by hand making large incisions.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomies have some advantages over open cholecystectomies. These advantages involve; less surgical scar, less pain after the surgery, shorter hospitalisation process, shorter process to return to work. Considering these advantages, it is obvious that this surgery must not be performed as open unless necessary. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the golden standard method for treatment of gallbladder stones and gallbladder polyps.
How many days is the hospitalisation period after cholecystectomy?
In practice, generally we let the patient start walking at the post-op 4th hour, keep him/her at the hospital for 1 night and discharge him/her the next morning. This period might be extend to 2-3 days for patients that have some accompanying diseases or specific patients.
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