Gallbladder Stones Treatment

The gallbladder is a small organ but it has an important job to do. It stores bile for the liver and secretes that bile to help break down fats in the food that we eat. When gallstones get in the way, then it can’t do its job and problems result. If you think you may have a gallbladder stone, here are some possible treatment options.

Gallstones are formed in the gallbladder from a mixture of cholesterol deposits and other substances found in the bile. Stones are usually small things that never cause any problem in the digestive system. But, sometimes, the stones can get large. This in and of itself is not a problem until they block off one of the ducts leading from the gallbladder.

You have two ducts: the cystic duct and the common bile duct. The cystic duct drains bile from the gallbladder. The common bile duct inhibits bile from not only the gallbladder but also the liver. This bile breaks down fats in the intestines as well. Without it, fats aren’t properly digested.

Most people have stones in the gallbladder that block the cystic duct. The gallbladder can become inflamed and pain ensues. This pain may be in the upper abdomen near the site of the organ. Often it is felt in the back and between the shoulder blades.

On rare occasions people have stones that travel to the common bile duct. This is a more serious problem that can affect the pancreas which secretes insulin. Stones in the common bile duct need to be removed.

Treatment Options

While you won’t feel like dancing after a bout of gallbladder pain, some people have one episode and nothing else. The stone may move away from the opening to the duct and cause no further issues. In this case, your doctor may watch your symptoms to see if they occur again.

Repeated gallbladder stone attacks can lead to inflammation in the tiny organ. This leads to scar tissue and a swollen organ. The option that your doctor may recommend is surgery.

Surgery for gallbladder stone removal involves removing the entire organ. Today it can be performed laparoscopically through four small incisions using a scope and a camera for visualization. A cholangiogram (fluoroscopic picture of the ducts using dye) is taken to make sure that the stones are not in the cystic duct or the common bile duct.

The gallbladder is removed but the common bile duct is left intact. The bile still reaches the intestines but it is not stored anywhere first.

Most patients are back up and moving again in a couple of weeks. If you are suffering from gallbladder attacks, consult your doctor for treatment options. Low-risk patients may be monitored while those with a history of attacks will more than likely need surgical intervention.