Gallbladder is an organ situated under the liver and helps in digestion. Gallstones are concentrated cholesterol particles that form within the gallbladder. About 80% of gallstones are comprised of cholesterol and rest 20% comprised of calcium salts and bilirubin.
There are two types of gallstones-
1. Cholesterol Gallstones– These yellow-green colored stones are the most common occurring gallstones, comprising of about 80% of total number of gallstones. Just like the name suggests, these gallstones contain high amount of cholesterol.
2. Pigment Gallstone – These are much smaller in size and darker in color. They are a bit rarer kind of gallstones affecting lesser population. Unlike the prior category, these contains high amount of bilirubin, and is more likely to affect the individual having infected bile tubes or blood disorder like sickle-cell anemia.
Most of the people suffering from gallstone never experience any symptoms, unless the gallstones begin to block the bile duct. Some of the patients experience a sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, specifically in the biliary colic along with loss of appetite, indigestion and nausea.
If not treated on time through laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, it can lead to severe complications such as inflammation of gallbladder, pancreas and liver along with fever, vomiting, yellowish skin, dark coloured urine and with persistent pain lasting up to more than five hours.
Risk factors associated with gallstone are:
Use of birth control pills
Family history of gallstone
Sudden weight loss
Diagnosis of Gallstone
A suspected gallstone can be diagnosed either by cholesterol test, X-ray, blood test or ultrasound scan.
Treatment of Gallstones
Usually the doctor recommend to operate for gallstone if it causes gallbladder inflammation or blockage in the bile duct. To be in safe side, the patient is put on low fat diet during the entire treatment procedure.
If any patient is unfit for undergoing surgery, then oral medication can be prescribed. These include drugs that dissolve cholesterol. However, these medications can take several years to cure gallstones.
It is the surgical approach by which the gallbladder is removed. Nowadays, most of these procedures are carried out by laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. But occasionally some patients are not suitable for undergoing the laparoscopic approach; especially if their gallbladder is severely inflamed. For them, open surgery remains the only feasible option.