What is the main treatment for gallstones?
There are two main types of treatment for gallstones: medical and surgical.
Medical treatment involves the use of drugs to dissolve the stones. This is often done as an outpatient procedure and may require a hospital stay of one or more days. Surgical treatment involves removing the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). This is typically done as an inpatient procedure and requires a hospital stay of several days.
Which treatment is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the size and number of stones, your overall health, and your preference. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is best for you.
Gallstone surgery is called cholecystectomy. It is a very common operation and is usually performed through several small incisions in the abdomen. The gallbladder is removed through one of the incisions. The other incisions are used to insert instruments and a camera to view the inside of the abdomen. Cholecystectomy can be performed laparoscopically or as an open procedure.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common type of gallbladder surgery. It is less invasive than open cholecystectomy and has a shorter hospital stay and recovery time. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is often performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day.
Open cholecystectomy is a more invasive surgery than laparoscopic cholecystectomy and has a longer hospital stay and recovery time. Open cholecystectomy is typically performed as an inpatient procedure, which means you will need to stay in the hospital for one or more nights.
Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of both types of surgery with you and help you decide which type of surgery is best for you.
What causes gallstones?
Gallstones are formed when there is an imbalance in the chemical make-up of bile. Bile is a fluid that is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It helps to break down fat in the digestive process.
There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are made up of cholesterol, while pigment stones are made up of bilirubin, a substance that is produced when red blood cells are broken down. Gallstones can be either type, or a combination of both.
The exact cause of the imbalance in the chemical make-up of bile that leads to gallstone formation is not known. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk of developing gallstones, including:
– Being female
– Being over the age of 60
– Having a family history of gallstones
– Being overweight or obese
– Eating a high-fat diet
– Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or cirrhosis
If you are at risk for developing gallstones, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. These include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. You should also talk to your doctor about taking medication to help prevent gallstone formation.
Gallstones can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
– Pain in the upper abdomen, particularly after eating
– Nausea and vomiting
– Belching or burping
– Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
– Clay-colored stools
Gallstones can also cause no symptoms at all. If you do not have any symptoms, you may not need treatment. However, if you have gallstones that are causing pain or other problems, treatment may be necessary.
Gallstones are most commonly diagnosed through an ultrasound of the abdomen. This is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. An ultrasound can often show whether or not you have gallstones and how many you have.
Other tests that may be used to diagnose gallstones include:
– CT scan: A CT scan is a type of X-ray that produces detailed images of the inside of the body.
– Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This test uses an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera on the end, to examine the bile ducts and pancreatic duct. dye is injected through the endoscope so that these ducts can be seen more clearly on X-ray.
– Blood tests: Blood tests may be done to look for signs of infection or other problems.
Your doctor will discuss the results of your tests with you and help you decide whether or not treatment is necessary.
If you do need treatment, the most common option is surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). This can be done either laparoscopically or through an open incision in the abdomen. After surgery, gallstones are usually not able to form again.
Gallstone surgery is typically safe and effective. Complications from gallstone surgery are rare, but can include:
– Injury to the bile ducts or other organs
– Reaction to anesthesia
You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of gallstone surgery before making a decision.
Gallstones can usually be treated successfully with surgery. If you have symptoms or are at risk for developing complications, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. With proper treatment, most people with gallstones can expect to live normal, healthy lives.