Common Gallbladder Disorders

Posted: May 10 in Surgery Blog tagged by Staff

Gallstones and other gallbladder diseases can affect a large percentage of the population. Often gallstones can be present without any associated symptoms, but when they become lodged in ducts associated with the gallbladder the symptoms can be very specific and come on quickly.

The gallbladder is located under the liver on the right side of the upper abdomen. It is shaped like a balloon and manufactures fluid called bile, which aids in the digestive process by breaking down food product. When a gallstone becomes lodged in the duct exiting the gallbladder or the common bile duct, the obstruction can result in severe pain in the upper right abdomen that comes on rapidly. The pain may also be in the center of the chest just below the sternum as well as in the right shoulder or center between the scapula, or shoulder blades.

Often, people who suffer from gallbladder disorders will recognize the onset of pain following a meal that is high in fat content such as fast food. The fat in the meal causes the gallbladder to contract and expel the stored bile. When the duct is blocked the pain can come on quickly.

In extreme or chronic cases it may be necessary to have a general surgical procedure performed to remove the gallbladder. In addition to pain, some signs that a gallbladder disorder should be addressed surgically include severe pain that cannot be relieved, elevated fever and yellowing tint to the skin and eyes.

One procedure that may be performed by an experience general surgeon would be a cholecystectomy or laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. In this procedure the surgeon uses surgical tools to make small incisions that leave minimal scarring to insert small laparoscope. This small camera transmits images of the inside of your abdomen to a monitor. The surgeon uses the video on the monitor to guide surgical tools to the gallbladder and remove the small organ with minimal invasiveness. The procedure usually lasts less than two hours and patients can expect a full recovery in about a week.

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