Gallstones are very common in the Australian community. Often they may be found incidentally when undergoing tests and scans for other reasons. If gallstones are not causing problems such as pains, bloating and nausea, they can be left alone.
If gallstones start causing problems such as pain after meals, bloating and nausea or you develop a complicaton of gallstones such as pancreatitis, cholangitis, jaundice (turning yellow) or cholecystitis (infection of gallbladder), then early surgery to remove the gallbladder is required.
Removal of gallbladder is usually done by keyhole techniques and often means an overnight stay in hospital.
The whole gallbladder has to be removed. Unlike kidney stones, gallstones cannot be treated with laser nor blasting.
Leaving the gallbladder alone once a problem has occurred is not advisable as the stones are likely to cause further problems.
Dr Ken Wong