If gallstones block one of the biliary ducts, the result is inflammation and swelling of the organs "upstream" of the blocked duct.
- This complication alone can cause symptoms and warrants treatment, possibly surgery.
- If untreated, it can lead to more serious conditions such as infection and damage to the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
- If these organs sustain enough damage, they can no longer carry out their normal functions. This is a life-threatening complication.
If a patient has surgery, you should know the following:
- A person who has had laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder may leave the hospital 12-48 hours after surgery and return to full activities within three weeks.
- If open surgery was required to remove the gallbladder, recovery takes a little longer. The person may leave the hospital within three to seven days and could resume normal activity after a six week recovery period.
- The most common complication of surgery is damage to the biliary tract. If bile leaks out of the biliary system, it can cause an infection.
If a person chooses not to have their gallbladder removed, it is likely you will have recurring abdominal pain and possibly complications.
Medically reviewed by a Board Certified Family Practice Physician
REFERENCE: eMedicine.com. Cholelithiasis.
Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: William K Raboff, MD, Attending Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, NM.
Editors: Ron Fuerst, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor,
Department of Pediatrics, University of South Carolina College of Medicine;
Director, Children's Emergency Center, Children's Hospital of Richland Memorial
Hospital; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine;
Michael E Zevitz, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine,
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2015
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