As the name suggests, gallstones are tiny stones that build up inside the gallbladder. These stones, which are typically composed of cholesterol, don’t always cause significant health issues, but when they do the treatments range from mild (dietary changes) to intense (surgery).
Problems typically arise when the stones get stuck in a part of the gallbladder that prevents proper functionality. For example, if a stone becomes lodged in the opening duct of the gallbladder, it can result in immediate and acute pain that can last for hours at a time. Additionally, if the stones lead to inflammation of the gallbladder, a condition known as cholecystitis, the patient may experience fever and jaundice in addition to pain. So, what treatment options are available to individuals with gallstone issues?
1. Keyhole surgery
The good news about having a gallbladder that isn’t functioning properly? If necessary, it can be removed from the body entirely. Even better: after the gallbladder is removed, the patient should experience a full recovery.
If removal of the gallbladder is deemed necessary, physicians may decide to take it out using keyhole surgery, otherwise known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In this type of procedure, only a few small cuts are made in order to remove the gallbladder. Doctors then inflate the abdomen, using carbon dioxide gas, in order to make it easier to see and remove the gallbladder. Keyhole surgery can also be used to remove gallstones from the ducts connecting the gallbladder to other parts of the body. Should everything go well, the patient should be mostly recovered after a couple weeks.