Gallbladder Stones

What is a Gall Bladder?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located below the liver on the right side of the abdomen which stores and produces a digestive juice known as bile fluid which is used to breakdown the dietary fats. The organ extracts water from its store of bile until the liquid becomes highly concentrated. The gallbladder is triggered to squeeze its bile concentrate into the small intestine via the common bile duct on the presence of fatty foods.

What is Gall Bladder Stone?

Small, hard and stone-like substance made up of cholesterol, bile pigment and calcium salts in the gall bladder are known as gallstones also known as biliary calculi. it is a common disease of the digestive system. The size of the gallstone can vary from a small grain of sand to a size of the golf ball. It has been observed that gall bladder stones affect approximately 15 per cent of the people aged 50 years and over

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What are the causes of Gall Bladder Stone?

There is no single cause of gall bladder stones. The main factors that may cause gallstones to form include the crystallisation of excess cholesterol in the bile, overproduction of cholesterol by the liver and failure of the gallbladder to empty completely are identified as the main cause of gall bladder stones.

Different Types of Gallstones

There are 3 different types of gall bladder stone which are listed below

  • a) Mixed stones – It is the most common type of gall bladder stone. The stone is made up of cholesterol and salts and tends to develop in multiple rounds.
  • b) Cholesterol stones : These types of gallstones are yellowish-green in colour and are mainly made up of crystallized cholesterol.
  • c) Pigment stones : These type of gallstones are dark and small to describe, they are usually present in numbers and mostly made up of bilirubin, a yellowish bile pigment.

Who are more prone to get gall bladder stone ? :

  • In female – Gallstones are found to be more common in women especially during and post-pregnancy.
  • Obesity – Obesity increases the risk of gallstones.
  • Genetic factor
  • Age - Underperformance of the liver
  • Alcoholic and Smokers - Underperformance of the liver
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Dr Shashank Shah at the Laparo Obeso Centre in the city extracted more than 1450 gall bladder stone

What are the symptoms of Gall Bladder Stone?

Gall bladder stones may cause no signs and symptoms. In a case where gall bladder stone gets stuck in a duct and causes a blockage, it may lead to the following symptoms:

  • A sudden and rapid increase in the pain at the upper right portion of the patient’s abdomen
  • A sudden and rapid increase in the pain in the centre portion of the patient’s abdomen, to be specific - just below the breastbone
    • Back pain
    • Right Shoulder Pain
    • Nausea or vomiting

Pain caused by the gall bladder stone may last several minutes to a few hours.

Treatment For Gall Bladder Stone

Patients experiencing symptoms from their gall bladder stones are recommended a gallbladder removal surgery. Gall bladder stones with no symptoms typically don't need treatment.

The procedure is safe and effective. The surgery clears stones in the gallbladder but not the stones in the common bile duct. Rarely there is a case where stones are formed in the common bile duct years after the gallbladder removal.

Gall Bladder Stone Surgery

This surgery is also known as Cholecystectomy. It is performed to remove the gallbladder and gallstones by making multiple small incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy procedure is most safe and effective treatment option for removal of gall bladder stone

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about 2 hours or less. The patient’s abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide ( CO2 ) to get a clear view and expand the section. An X-ray procedure called intraoperative cholangiography is done to see the anatomy of the bile ducts. Then, into the incision near the belly button, a lighted scope attached to a small video camera is inserted. Then the surgeon inserts surgical instruments through the other incisions to remove the gallbladder with the help of a video monitor guiding the surgeon.

What to expect after the surgery ?

After the surgical procedure is performed bile starts flowing from the liver where it is produced, through the common bile duct and into the small intestine. After the gallbladder is removed, the body cannot store bile between meals. This has minor or no effect on digestion in most of the patients. Most patients need a stay at the hospital for only 1 or 2 days to post the procedure and can return to their normal routine in 7 to 10 days ( which is way lower as compared to 4 to 6 weeks in case of open surgery ). There are no diet restrictions post-discharge from the hospital.