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Gallstones (cont.)

Gallstones Follow-up

If the gallbladder has been removed, office visits to the general surgeon are required to check the operation sites one to three times following the operation. No other follow-up or long-term care is required.

Gallstones Prevention Diet

A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet can prevent symptoms of gallstones but cannot prevent formation of stones. It is not known why some people form stones and others do not.

Gallstones Prognosis

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 the damage to the biliary system is severe, further operations may be needed.

If a person chooses not to have their gallbladder removed, it is likely they will have recurring abdominal pain and possibly complications.

Medically reviewed by a John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE: eMedicine.com. Cholelithiasis.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/774352-overview>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cholelithiasis »

Gallstones are concretions that form in the biliary tract, usually in the gallbladder.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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