The gall bladder is a major part of the human body. It is situated in the abdomen near the liver and plays a crucial role in the body’s digestive system. It stores bile from the liver and, along with bile, some waste materials like bilirubin. These waste materials are usually processed by the body. However, the waste materials accumulated in the gall bladder sometimes cause stones, which can cause health issues. It is a common problem, and with available treatment options, it can be treated. This article talks about the condition and the ways of gall bladder stone treatment.
The first rule of the treatment is that if the condition is asymptomatic, the patient can easily pass it out from the body. Because gall bladder stone sometimes does not show symptoms, it often goes undetected. Regular checkups can help detect stone formation. An experienced gastroenterologist with experience in dealing with such cases can show the right treatment approach to the patient.
Why Is Gall Bladder Treatment Necessary?
On the surface, gallbladder stones are a very common disease for adults. 10% of the adult population and 20% of the senior citizens fall victim to the condition. The good news for gallbladder stone patients is that only 20% of the cases need treatment. However, to know the case’s severity, the patient must go to a good gastroenterologist.
Stones can lead to blockages in bile ducts that flow from the liver to the gall bladder. The stones can also obstruct bile flow from the bladder to the small intestine. These blockages can eventually lead to pressure and pain in adjacent organs. Similarly, the condition can also lead to inflammation in the gall bladder and nearby tissues. The patient will face a lot of pain in severe cases where the stone is large. The inflammation, when left untreated, can lead to more complex gall bladder diseases. Blockages in the bile ducts can also lead to inflammation in the liver and, ultimately, cirrhosis. The condition can also lead to pancreatitis and cholangitis.
What Causes Gall Stones?
Gallbladder stones are usually made of cholesterol and other waste products that trickle down from the liver. Excess cholesterol in the body and obesity can be the underlying cause. When there is excess cholesterol, it is not properly broken down by the liver biomolecules. When cholesterol remains in liver secretions, it causes stone accumulation. Another condition that can lead to gallbladder stones is excess bilirubin in the bile. A good lifestyle and proper metabolism can prevent its formation. However, the patient should discuss treatment options with the doctor if there is a major case of gallbladder stones.
What Are The Tests To Detect Gall Stones?
Before gallbladder stone treatment, there are some tests that the doctor will run on the patient to detect the condition. The tests for diagnosis of gallbladder stones are as follows-
Ultrasound– Ultrasound is a basic imaging test that the gastroenterologist uses to locate gallbladder stones. The test is often enough to detect the condition. However, other tests also help confirm the presence of gallbladder stones.
MRCP- MRCP is a non-invasive imaging test focusing on the bile ducts. The test is similar to an MRI.
These are the general tests that the gastroenterologist recommends to locate gallbladder stones.
Gall Bladder Stone Treatment Approaches
There are many ways to treat gallbladder stones. The most common ways are as follows-
Medication– When the stones are small and can be dissolved with chemicals, the doctor recommends medicines. The medication usually works on stones that are noncalcified. Medicines are used to stop gallbladder stones from forming and dissolve existing stones.
Cholecystectomy– In case of symptomatic gall bladder stones, Cholecystectomy is recommended. When the gallstone is large enough to obstruct bile ducts completely and cause pain, the doctor goes for the removal of the gall bladder. The procedure is referred to as Cholecystectomy in scientific terms. A doctor will recommend open Cholecystectomy or a laparoscopic method to reduce the recovery time.
Shock Wave Lithotripsy– Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a procedure that sends high-energy sound waves into the gall bladder. The sound waves create shock waves and cause the stones to break and reduce size. This is a non-surgical procedure that does not even need anaesthesia.
Other treatment approaches for gallbladder stones in high-risk patients who cannot go for full-fledged surgery are Percutaneous Therapy and Endoscopic Stenting. Depending on the condition of the gall bladder and the risks the patient faces, the gastroenterologist recommends the treatment procedure. After a complete review of a person’s medical history, the doctor decides to go forward with any procedure.