Gallstone and Liver Disease

What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are lumps of solid material that form in the gallbladder and usually resemble small stones or gravel although some can be as large as pebbles.

 

The ‘Risk’ Category?

  • Women between the ages of 20 and 60 are three times more likely to develop gallstones than men
  • Women who have had multiple pregnancies are also more likely to develop gallstones
  • The prevalence of gallstones increases with age and with obesity

 

Symptoms

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Inflammation of the gall bladder, bile ducts, liver or pancreas

 

Treatments

  • Open Cholecystectomy
    • The classic surgical treatment for gallstones with general anaesthesia. The patient's gall bladder is removed through an abdominal incision.
  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
    • Surgeons remove the gall bladder through small abdominal incisions using a lighted tube (called a laparoscope) and there is no cutting through the muscle of the abdominal wall.
  • Extracorporeal Biliary Lithotripsy
    • In this procedure, after locating the gallstones using an ultrasound machine, the doctors focus high-energy shock waves focus on the stones such that the waves break the gallstones into fragments, which either pass into the intestine or are dissolved with the help of medication.
  • Oral dissolution of gallstones by means of a medication, ursodeoxycholic acid (ursodiol), involves no surgery, and is therefore suitable for patients who are at high risk surgically.
  • Contact dissolution requires medication to be administered into the gall bladder through a catheter.

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