The Gallbladder is the small pear-shaped sac-like organ present under the liver that collects the bile (digestive juice) manufactured by the liver. This bile is then released from the gall bladder as and when required which helps in breakdown of the dietary fats thus assisting in digestion.Gallbladder stones is the most common problem of the digestive system and affects a large percentage of population.
Around 15% of the people above the age 50 years are known to suffer from gall bladder stones. More common in females and overweight individuals, gall stones are the small biliary calculi that are formed by cholesterol, bile pigments or calcium salts. Gallstones are formed when there is excessive cholesterol in the bile, the crystallization of which results in incomplete emptying of the gall bladder.Most often, gall stones do not cause any symptoms and go unnoticed. However, if they do, the common symptoms include;
- Severe abdominal and back pain
- Fever, vomiting, indigestion
- Abdominal pain usually after eating fatty meals
However, complications like blocking of the duct due to large stones, infections or pancreatitis may need quick treatment and surgery.
Gall bladder stones are easy to diagnose. The doctor may look for jaundice and get the blood tests done. Ultrasound is a convenient and quick way to get the gallstones detected. There are other complicated tests like ERCP if the doctor suspects stones in the bile duct.
The exact cause of developing gall stones is uncertain. However, gall stones may be formed due to one of the following reasons;
- Alterations in the bile components
- Failure of the gall bladder to empty completely
- Excessive production of cholesterol in the liver which results in cholesterol crystals formation that ultimately grows into gall stones.
The gallstones can be symptomatic or asymptomatic.Asymptomatic gall stones, or the gallstones which do not cause any symptoms, do not need any medical intervention. But the surgeons would advise you to remove the gall bladder if you are prone to develop complications of gallstones.
Following are the treatment options that highly depend on the size and site of the stones;
- Medication: It is rarely advised treatment mode, in which medicines are given to dissolve the stones. It has side effects and low success rates.
- Dietary modifications: This includes reducing and excluding the intake of fatty foods and dairy products which can help prevent the symptoms.
- Lithotripsy: This is done in small number of cases in which the patients have small and soft stones. The sound waves produced by the lithotripsy machine are used to break the gall stones, which are then either removed through intervention or are excreted out of the body naturally.
- Surgical intervention: This is the most widely adopted intervention in which either the entire gall bladder or only the gall stones from the bile duct are removed using different techniques. As gall bladder is not a vital organ, one can manage and live normal life without having it. The surgery is medically known as cholecystectomy. gallbladder stones treatment in india
The surgical interventions for removal of gall bladder include;
- Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: This the minimally invasive surgery (keyhole surgery) in which the surgeon makes small incision on the skin and with the help of guided camera, gall bladder is located and using the specialized surgical tool, gallbladder is removed through one of the incisions.
- Open surgery: It is commonly referred as laparotomy. Open surgery is indicated in individuals who already have undergone previous abdominal surgery or who have bleeding disorder. In this, the gall bladder is removed by making wider incision in the abdomen, through which the gallbladder is removed.
If you are diagnosed with gall stones and suffering from severe pain, if the size of the stones is more than 1 cm, or if your gall bladder in inflamed causing cholecystitis and is impairing your day to day life, you may require surgical intervention to remove the gall bladder (cholecystectomy)
Following are the two widely used surgical procedure for Cholecystectomy;
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy:
This is the most commonly performed procedure, usually done under general anaesthesia.
The surgeon begins by making a few small incisions of about 0.5-1 cm in the skin of your abdomen to let the surgical instruments reach the abdominal cavity. Then a tube is inserted which blows mild stream of CO2 which aids in separation of the abdominal wall from the underlying organs. Also, the small camera which is attached to the laparoscope is put inside through one of the incisions for the surgeon to see the gall bladder on the monitor.
Specialized X-rays called cholangiograms might be used to look for the wedges of the gall stones in the duct.Then the biliary ducts and the artery supplying blood to the gallbladder are clipped and the gall bladder is cut using either laser or electro cautery which is then pulled out of the body via one of the small incisions in the abdomen. The instruments are then removed from the abdomen and incisions are sutures and dressed.
- Open gallbladder surgery
The entire procedure for open surgery is same as the laparoscopic cholecystectomy except the fact that the surgeon removes the gallbladder by making a single and large incision in the abdominal wall.
You can expect progressive recovery following the surgery. You get discharged from the hospital and go home the next day after the laparoscopic surgery while open surgery requires admission for 3-4 days. Most of the patients after laparoscopic surgery can resume their daily activities within a week's time. However, patients undergoing open surgery might need around 2-4 weeks to resume their routine activities.
Laparoscopic gall bladder surgery is quite safe and effective and gets rid of the gallstones located in the gallbladder. The results of the surgery are permanent and you would be relieved of pain you had before the surgery.
We encourage you to educate yourself about Gall Bladder removal surgery in India, benefits from the right kind of Gall Bladder removal surgery in India procedure and then make an informed decision.