Gallstones are a painful condition that often leads to the removal of the gallbladder. This procedure, known as a cholecystectomy, is a minimally invasive surgery. Patients experience great relief afterwards and few side effects.
Function of a Gallbladder
A gallbladder is part of the gastrointestinal system and aids in the breakdown of fats. When you eat something high in fat, bile is released from the gallbladder to aid in the digestion.
Gallstones are a common pathology of the gallbladder. Most stones are formed by residual bile remaining in the gallbladder. This can become more serious by causing inflammation of the gallbladder known as cholecystitis.
Females over 60 years old are at an increased risk for gallstones. Patients who recently lost weight or are currently dieting often develop gallstones since the bile is not being released due to a fatty intake decrease.
If a patient is asymptomatic, then the only treatment is diet modification. If the patient is in extreme pain, a cholecystectomy is performed.
Post Operative Complications
A cholecystectomy is a simple procedure with few complications after healing has occurred. Some patients will have recurrent stones years after the gallbladder is removed. Bile is still produced in the liver and travels through the common bile duct to the stomach. A stone can form in the bile duct. Some patients can have a stone in the duct at the time of the cholecystectomy that the doctor misses. In this case, pain can be present immediately after the surgery or months later.