Fear of gallbladder surgery

Many people who are diagnosed with acute cholecystitis are phobic to gallbladder (and gall stone) removal surgery and defer it in fear despite of their doctors advice. First let’s look in what  a cholecystitis is, it’s an inflammation of gallbladder occurring due to stones in gall bladder. Gallstones (i.e. stone in gall bladder) can be of following types depending upon their ingredients like cholesterol stones (since made of cholesterol primarily), pigment stone (bilirubin and calcium salts are their ingredients) and mixed stones (mixture of cholesterol bilirubin etc).

English: Gallbladder
Gallbladder

Why this stones are formed? Many causes are possible, some are asfollowing-

  • stasis i.e. if the gallbladder lose it’s contraction power stasis of bile can lead to a stone (normally bile is stored in gallbladder)
  • another cause might be high estrogen state of females like pregnancy or use of estrogen containing hormone pills
  • the above two are primarily related with occurrence of cholesterol stones whereas a pigment stone can occur due to certain disease like hemolytic anemias where red cells break down to release bilirubin to form those bilirubin containing pigment stones.

Acute cholecystitis generally causes severe pain in right upper part of belly (the gallbladder houses in that location), fever etc. A person might not know that they have gallstone unless they get an acute cholecystitis or they get some imaging tests like ultrasound for some other cause and accidentally finds those stones.

Normally gall bladder stones those are not causing any symptom are not operated but once they become symptomatic an operation mostly the required fate. In acute cholecystitis  patients are generally admitted in hospital and given fluids through veins, pain medication, antibiotics etc. and a surgery is planned; the surgeon removes the whole gallbladder along with the stones inside and the process is referred as cholecystectomy and might be done by open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Alternative treatments gallstones are there although not much successful like- dissolving medications like ursodeoxycholic acid or lithotripsy. In lithotripsy the stones are fragmented from outside e using ultrasound waves.

Recently in China researchers patented a new device to remove gallstones without chopping of the gallbladder (LINK).

English: Opened gall bladder containing numero...
Opened gall bladder containing numerous gallstones

Complications of cholecystitis may cause infection of biliary tree (called ascending cholangitis and these happens when a stone from gallbladder lodges into the bile ducts) or  it can even perforate the gallbladder and have its own consequences. These complications can be life threatening. Note gallstone lodging in pancreas can cause inflammation of pancreas leading to a pancreatitis (an inflammatory condition of pancreas). Now if we don’t remove our gallbladder along with the stones when advised by doctors in cases of acute cholecystitis it might make us more prone to these complications.

Large Gallstone
Large Gallstone

Although advised for surgery certain individuals  are afraid of getting it and they try tolerating their future pain and avoid surgery; some even move to alternative streams of medicine like homeopathy etc. There are many alternative medicine practices to remove gall stone although not sure how effective are they. One such alternative way of stone extraction called gallbladder flush sounded quite interesting, sharing a video related to it below:The author doesn’t have much insight about these alternative methods of gall stone extraction. It might be a great piece of wisdom to be guided by your healthcare provider and choose wisely what  intervention is appropriate for your health.

Enjoy life!

My Gallstone
Gallstone

You may share your opinions below in the comments section. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Please cross check information from other sources too. Another similar item: HORMONE PILLS IN MENOPAUSE, GALLSTONE RISK. References:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118111216.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholecystitis, http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7365/639, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gallstones/pages/treatment.aspx

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