As a specialist gallbladder surgeon, my usual recommendation is that if a patient has gallstones and is experiencing pain or has experienced pain, then surgery would be recommended.
Because your gallbladder has multiple stones and you have had an attack, I guarantee that if the gallbladder is removed that when looked under the microscope the gallbladder will show signs of chronic cholecystitis - or chronic inflammation of the gallbladder.
The result of long-standing low-grade chronic inflammation of the gallbladder can be a shrunken contracted gallbladder which can make surgery more difficult when it eventually needs to come out.
Depending on what other medical problems you may have, where you live, what sort of travelling you do, that may make it more or less important for you to have your gallbladder removed.
Complications of gallstones can include an inflamed gallbladder (acute cholecystitis), gangrenous cholecystitis, pancreatitis (which can be life threatening), jaundice from gallstones escaping from the gallbladder and becoming lodged in the main bile duct, bile duct infection known as cholangitis (which can be life threatening), erosion of gallstones into a main bile duct or bowel. All of the complications of gallstones can be serious and in general, the morbidity of having a gallbladder removed is usually very low or minimal. The majority of people will NOT have any problems after surgery.
Dr Jason Wong
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