Gallstones

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that rests under the liver. It stores and concentrates bile produced by the liver and releases into intestine when needed for digestion. Bile is composed of a variety of chemicals, including cholesterol, salts, and certain pigments. In some people, tiny crystals form from the cholesterol and pigments which eventfully become large gall stones.

Colicky pain on right and upper part of abdomen associated with bloating, belching/flatulence and nausea are frequent symptoms of gall stones. When gallbladder becomes inflamed due to infection form gall stone, it is called acute cholecystitis which requires immediate attention and even requires surgery. This gall stones can some times cause blockage of bile duct which can cause jaundice and cholangitis which again is a serious infection. These stones in the bile duct can cause even inflamed pancreas, called pancreatitis.

Abdominal ultrasound for gallstones, a nuclear test called HIDA scan and CT scan of abdomen are important tools used to diagnose gall bladder problems and further help to devise medical treatment of gallstones. ERCP is an endoscopic test to diagnose and even treat some the complications of gall stones.

It is usually recommended that patients without symptoms receive no gallstones treatment. Acute cholecystitis requires laparoscopic surgery to remove diseased gall bladder. Gallstone removal and dissolving for small stones is possible with drugs which may need to be taken for 6-24 months.

For more information about gallstones, please visit us in Riverdale NJ.