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Gallbladder and Gallstone Disease

The gallbladder is responsible for storing bile that is produced within the liver.  Bile is important for digestion and absorption of fats within food.  Gallbladder disease includes gallbladder stones, inflammation (cholecystitis) and cancers amongst others.

Gallstones can be found within the gallbladder and within the bile ducts where they can cause obstruction, and then pain and jaundice and can cause infection.   Pain is usually on the upper right side of the abdomen over the liver area and can go to the shoulder and usually the patient develops jaundice (yellow eyes) and possibly fever depending on  the severity of the disease.

The disease is more common in females, patients older than 50, on hormone replacement therapy.  Also patients who are overweight and who may be on diets, pregnant women, patients who have sickle cell disease, patients who have high levels of cholesterol, liver diseases and who have a family history of gallstones, and on certain medications are also at risk.

The diagnosis involves ultrasound tests, CT scans and blood tests

These patients are treated by ERCP procedures performed by a gastroenterologist where stones are extracted and Gallbladder removal via laparoscopic surgery by a surgeon.