Having gallstones doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a gall bladder operation. Many people can have so called ‘incidental’ gallstones found on investigations done for a different problem. Such gallstones don’t need treatment and a policy of active monitoring is usually followed with your doctor.
Symptomatic gallstones can present with a variety of symptoms and conditions. The common ones are:
- Biliary colic: Spasms of pain in the right upper part of your abdomen which may radiate around to your back. This is usually brought on by eating particularly fat rich food.
- Cholecystitis: otherwise called infection of the gall bladder which usually requires admission to hospital and intravenous antibiotics
- Obstructive Jaundice: Stones may drop out of your gall bladder and get lodged in your bile ducts blocking them and interrupting the flow of bile into your bowel. This causes jaundice (yellow discoloration of your skin and eyes).
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the Pancreas gland or pancreatitis can be the first presentation of gallstones. This is due to gallstones dropping out of the gall bladder into the bile ducts and irritating the pancreas gland which lies close by. Pancreatitis can be potentially a serious condition.
Symptomatic gallstones require surgery and this is in the form of an operation to remove the gall bladder with the stones contained in it. This is commonly done as a key hole surgery called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. This can be done as a day case but occasionally may require an overnight stay.
A laparoscope which is a long thin telescope with light at the end and a camera attached on the other end is inserted into your abdomen under general anaesthetic through the belly button. The abdomen is inflated with gas for the surgeon to be able to visualise the organs. Further tiny cuts made in the abdominal wall allow instruments to be passed through to perform the operation.
Mr Rai offers a consultation to discuss your gallstone problem and will explain the treatment options including surgery. He will go through the details of the operation, potential risks and complications and the postoperative course and recovery period.
Mr Rai offers this surgery for gallstone disease at the
BMI Alexandra Hospital, Cheadle
Spire Regency Hospital, Macclesfield.
The Christie Clinic.