1. What is gall bladder?
Gall bladder is a small hollow pear shaped organ located inside the abdomen under the liver which is responsible for storage of bile.
2. Why do stones form inside the gall bladder?
Bile has high concentration of cholesterol and bile pigments. Most stones form inside gall bladder when the concentration of cholesterol increases. This usually occurs in females, during pregnancy, prolonged fasting, high fat diet and taking birth control pills. They can also form when infections affect the gallbladder like typhoid fever. Sometimes stones can form idiopathically (i.e without any known causes)
3. What are the symptoms of gall bladder stones?
Patients can be asymptomatic or have severe symptoms. Usually, they have complaints of heaviness after meals, nausea, gas bloat and pain in the upper abdomen. Sometimes, the pain can be very severe and is located in right upper abdomen and goes to the back or shoulder. There can associated vomiting and fever. In complicated cases, the stone can slip and block the common bile duct which will result in jaundice.
4. What is the treatment for gall stones?
The internationally accepted treatment for gall bladder stones is by surgical removal of the gallbladder together with the stones. The current recommendation is to do this operation laparoscopically.
5. Is it not possible to remove the stones through medicines?
Till date, there is no drug which is effective in dissolving or removing the stones. Moreover, if a drug does result in expulsion of the stone, there is a risk of causing blockage of the CBD resulting in jaundice.
6. Is it not possible to remove only the stones leaving the gall bladder behind?
Since the stones form in a gallbladder which is diseased, it is necessary to remove the entire gallbladder; otherwise stones would definitely form inside again.
7. Is there any problem of digestion of food if the gallbladder is removed?
Since the gallbladder is only responsible for storage of bile, the production of bile from the liver is unaffected by this operation. Hence, the digestion of food remains normal even after surgery.
8. How long does the surgery take and what is duration of hospital stay?
The surgery taken around 30 -45 minutes to perform and the duration of hospital stay is normally two days.
9. What kind of diet is advised after surgery?
The patient is started on liquids 4-6 hours after the operation. They can take soft diet the next day and can have their full diet 2-3 days after the surgery. They are told to avoid fatty/fried food for at least 2 weeks after the operation.