Gall Bladder Stones or Gallstones
Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver. The gallbladder holds a digestive fluid called bile that’s released into your small intestine. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder, and the size may vary from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.
Gallstones are more likely to occur in women than in men and women over 60 years. A family history of gallstones also increases your risk. Gallstones arise when there’s an imbalance in the chemical composition of bile inside the gallbladder. This can happen when cholesterol levels in bile become too high, causing cholesterol stones to form. Gallstones can also develop when the bilirubin level in the bile becomes too high, causing pigment stones to form.
Signs and Symptoms
Gallstones commonly present with the following signs and symptoms:
- Belt-like pain around the belly
- Sudden pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen, which may intensify
- Sudden pain in the center of the abdomen
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Nausea or vomiting
You must consult a doctor in case you are identified with gallstones or if you have any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above.
Diagnosis and tests
Your primary care physician will immediately run the following diagnostics and refer you to a surgeon.
- Liver function tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- A few patients may need additional scans like MRCP or HIDA scans, which a surgeon would decide upon looking at the blood tests and ultrasound.
Surgical intervention is the right approach to treat gallstones in order to prevent complications. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is often used to treat symptomatic gallstones because it offers many potential benefits over traditional Gall bladder surgery. Complications from this procedure are rare, and it generally has a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery than Open Gall bladder surgery. You may be able to go home the same day or the day after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.