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There is no permanent medical cure for gallstones. Although there are medical measures that can be taken to remove stones or relive symptoms, they are only temporary. If a patient has symptoms from gallstones, surgical removal of the gallbladder is the best treatment. Asymptomatic (producing no symptoms) gallstones do not require treatment.
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL): A device that generates shock waves is used to break gallstones up into tiny pieces.
Dissolving stones: Drugs made from bile acids are used to dissolve the gallstones.
If an individual goes to an emergency department, an IV line may be started, and pain medication and antibiotics may be given through the IV.
If the patient's health permits it, the health care practitioner will probably recommend surgery to remove the gallbladder and the stones. Surgical removal helps prevent future episodes of abdominal pain and more dangerous complications such as inflammation of the pancreas and infection of the gallbladder and liver.
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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