Gall bladder stone disease also know as “ cholelithiasis” is one the most general surgical disease which a surgeon encounters in his/ her practice across all the countries. Though the incidence may vary according to environmental, dietary and body structure of the individuals.
This disease is often ignored by most of the patients and eventually can lead to multiple complications of not treated timely because of the nature of the disease. As per normal conviction, the gall stones don’t normally produce symptoms as they tend to sit silently for years but they may cause acute attacks termed as “ cholecystitis” when the infection of the gallbladder occurs many other complications related to gallbladder stone disease.
Causes and risk factors associated with gallbladder stone disease
- Females in middle age carry more risk then males
- Diet rich in high cholesterol, fat and carbohydrates
- Patients with blood cell disorders( haemolytic disease)
- Rapid weight loss
- Chronic fasting or starvation
Symptoms and complications associated with gallbladder disease
- Indigestion and fullness of stomach
- Pain in the right upper abdomen
- Jaundice ( yellowish discolouration of eyes, palms and body)
- Pain associated with fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting during acute attacks
- Pancreatitis- inflammation of pancreas due to obstruction of stone in bile duct
- Empyema of gallbladder( pus in gallbladder)
- Mucocele of gallbladder ( stone obstructing the gallbladder)
- Erosion of the gallbladder in to the small intestine like duodenum ( cholecysto-duodenal fistula)
- Migration of gall stone causing small bowel obstruction
- Gall bladder cancer ( associated with long standing gallstones)
Diagnosis and investigations
These symptoms of gallstones even after detection of gallstone disease are often ignored by the patients. We strongly recommend to visit ur clinician/ surgeon for correct guidance and treatment of gall stone disease. Usually clinicians recommend blood investigations and ultrasonography of the abdomen to confirm the diagnosis. In case of suspicion of stones migrating in to common bile duct / clinical jaundice clinician will advice you to undergo Magnetic resonance Imaging ( MRI) of the upper abdomen to assess the complete biliary system. Once the diagnosis is confirmed it is highly recommend to undergo surgery.
Treatment for gall stone disease
Surgery remains the only treatment for gallbladder stones. Laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery also called as laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the gold standard procedure worldwide. Conventional open surgery always remain an option in case of suspicion of gallbladder cancers, any complication related to laparoscopic surgery and where expertise or infrastructure not available for minimal access surgery.
Recovery after surgery
The surgery is essentially the day care surgery or patient is discharged with 1-2 days from the hospital. Patient can resume normal diet from next day of surgery and go back to work as soon patient starts feeling comfortable.
Complications of gallbladder stone disease
The various complications of the gallstone disease are managed accordingly and are discussed in various other sections. The usual complication is common bile duct stones ( also know choledocolithiasis) which are managed using endoscopic removal of stones followed by surgery of removal of gallbladder. Gall stone induced pancreatitis could be very serious and should be taken cautiously especially in old individuals.
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