The gall bladder is a round small bag of the size of a pear, underneath the liver. It is on the right side of the abdomen. It serves the purpose of storing the bile juice produced by the liver. Bile juice aids digestion. Gallstones are common to be found in the gall bladder. The gallstone is a solid material formed over time and causes problems. The size can be as small as grain sand and also as big as the size of a golf ball. There is gallstones treatment surgery for those who have gallstones.
There may not be specific signs or symptoms of gallstones. If a gallstone gets stuck in the duct the symptoms may include:
- Sudden and intense pain in the upper part of the abdomen.
- Intensifying pain at the center of the abdomen, right below the breastbone.
- Pain in the right shoulder
- Vomiting and nausea
The pain can last from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
Time to see a doctor
You need to make an appointment with the doctor if there are worrying signs, like the following situations:
- The pain is so intense that you can’t sit properly or cannot find a comfortable position.
- Jaundice-like symptoms
- High fever
Gallstones showing no symptoms may not need treatment. Based on the diagnostic testing, your doctor advises you of the treatment options. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the standard gallstones treatment surgery. In this, the whole gall bladder is removed.
If gallstones are dissolved with medications, they may take time and can recur when the medication is stopped. They can also cause complications like cholangitis (blocking the liver), cholecystitis (gallbladder infection), and pancreatitis.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy removes the gall bladder under general anesthesia. A straightforward case only takes less than an hour to perform the surgery. But the complicated cases may take up to 2-3 hours.
The surgery is the same day surgery, which means that the patient can go home the same day. Or they can be admitted overnight if they want.
The standard surgery uses 4 small incisions to insert the instruments and camera for the surgery. The largest incision is made below the belly button. The camera is inserted through this incision, and the gallstone is taken out carefully.
After the surgery, patients can walk around and eat. The wounds are closed and covered with a waterproof dressing. Patients can have a shower and pat dry the wounds. For the first few weeks of surgery, swimming and soaking in a bath are not ideal. The patient should also avoid heavy lifting.