Gallbladder stones are deposits of hardened fluids that from in the gallbladder. Primarily symptomatized by sharp pains in the upper right side of the abdomen, these require to be surgically removed. However, in many cases, there might be no incidence of pain but there might be indication of gall bladder stones with other symptoms.
Let us dive deeper into why and how these stones form and procedures for safe removal and recover.
What is Gallbladder?
Located beneath the liver, the gall bladder is a hollow pouch like organ that stores bile, a digestive enzyme, which is released into the small intestine. Bile helps in the digestive process of fatty foods. In the absence of bile, the body cannot digest fatty food and it is passed out of the system normally.
What are gall stones?
Bile contains cholesterol, a waxy substance made by the body and helps in the digestion process. Gall stones are formed when the cholesterol in the bile lumps up and solidifies. It can also be caused when there is too little of bile salts, or if the bile is not frequently transferred to the small intestine. Gall stones are generally crystal-like masses that deposit in the gall bladder.
There are roughly three types of gall stones –
- Cholesterol stones – These stones mostly look like small crystals that can be light yellow, dark brown or green in color and contain mostly cholesterol. Majority of the cases of gall bladder stones are cholesterol stones.
- Pigment stones – These stones are mostly black in color and are formed due to another compound called bilirubin and calcium salts in the bile. These stones contain very less amount of cholesterol and occur in a small number of cases.
- Mixed stones – These stones contain cholesterol mixed with several other substances like calcium salts, bilirubin and pigments. These can occur when there is an infection in the biliary tract, which is the passageway for transport of bile. Only a small percentage of gall bladder stones are mixed stones.
The stones can range from the size of small grains of sand to even as large as a golf ball. These may form either as one large stone or several small stones in the gall bladder. In severe cases, the gall stones can cause the gall bladder to rupture if left untreated for a long time.
Gall stones cause blockage in the passageway that transfers bile to the small intestine. As a result, the ability to digest fatty food reduces significantly along with other complications.
What are the symptoms of gallbladder stones?
There are several symptoms that can indicate the presence of gall stones.
- Sharp pain in the upper right abdomen, that occurs suddenly and can intensify rapidly.
- Sharp pain in the upper middle part of the abdomen, right below the chest.
- Nausea and vomiting, especially after meal time.
- Pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades.
- Intolerance to fatty foods and recurring indigestion.
- Frequent occurrence of gas, or abdominal bloating.
Who is at risk for Gall bladder stones?
- Although the incidence of gall stones is higher in women than in men, the reasoning behind this is not discovered yet.
- Persons above the age of 40 are at risk of having gall stones.
- Persons that have undergone rapid gain or loss of weight can also develop gall bladder stones.
- Regular consumption of diets that are rich in cholesterol and fatty food items and low in fiber can also lead to gall stones.
- Birth control pills, hormone therapy and pregnancy can increase the chances of incidence.
- Persons with diabetes as well as overweight individuals are at high risk for gall stones.
- A family history of gall bladder stones poses high chances of incidence.
What can happen if gall stones go undetected for a long time?
There are several complicated situations that can occur if gall stones are not diagnosed at the right time.
- If a stone gets lodged in the opening of the gall bladder, it can cause inflammation of the organ. This can cause fever and sever pain, and the condition is called Cholecystitis.
- If a stone gets lodged in the passageway from the gall bladder to the small intestine, it can cause severe pain, infection, and jaundice.
- Sometimes gall stones can also get lodged and cause blockage in the pancreatic duct. This is the path from the pancreas (situated near the gall bladder) to the main passage that connects the gall bladder and the small intestine. Resulting in inflammation and a condition called pancreatitis and requires you to be admitted to a hospital.
- In severe cases, prolonged presence of gall bladder stones can lead to gall bladder cancer.
Gall Bladder surgery
Upon timely detection and diagnosis, gall bladder stones can be easily and safely removed through surgery. There are primarily two types of gall bladder surgery.
- Open surgery – In this procedure a large incision is made on the surface of the body to carry out the removal process. This is usually carried out incase of complicated cases, like in the large stage of pregnancy or internal tissue damage.
- Laparoscopic surgery – Also known as keyhole surgery, this is a minimally invasive procedure in which a very small incision is made on the abdomen to carry out the removal and recovery process. This is a safe, widely practiced and recommended procedure by doctors. The major advantages of laparoscopic gall bladder surgery include minimal pain, little to no loss of blood, quick recovery time (usually within one day) and negligible wound on skin surface.
After the surgery, patients are advised dietary as well as physical care until a time recommended by the doctor. A diet rich in fiber and low in fat, combined with low amount of physical strain are required until a week to ten days.
Why choose SIMM Healthcare for your gall bladder surgery?
Although a low risk surgery, gall bladder stone removal is a critical procedure that must be performed correctly to prevent major complications. SIMM Healthcare, located in Delhi NCR ,is a leading establishment for laparoscopic surgery in India and is led by a team of experienced and expert healthcare professionals. We have helped hundreds of patients recover and worked on several complicated cases with great success. A few testimonials from our satisfied patients are listed below
Our leading surgeon, Dr Arun Bhardwaj, is a highly skilled Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon based in Delhi/NCR. He specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures (basic and advance), Gastrointestinal Surgery and Bariatric Surgery.