Regional Gastrointestinal Consultants

Gallstones

Gallstones

Overview

Gallstones are rounded solid deposits in the gallbladder or bile ducts. These range from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. The most commonly found gallstones are comprised of a mixture of cholesterol and calcium salts. Some are pure cholesterol, but many are mixed. A small number are called “pigment” stones and contain bilirubin salts. Gallstones may be associated with chronic infection in the gallbladder.

Symptoms

Gallstones often produce no symptoms, but they cause pain when they are passed through the bile ducts, block the bile duct, or when there is infective process occurring. A plain abdominal x-ray will show calcified gallstones in 20% of patients. Ultrasound is the method of choice to diagnose gallstones, but cholecystography (gallbladder x-ray) and CT can also be used. The main treatment is surgery, although this is not required unless the gallstones are causing problems.

Treatment

ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) : is a procedure involving sedation of the patient and the insertion of the endoscope thought the stomach into the small bowel and guided into the bile duct to remove the gallstone. The success of this procedure depends on the size and/or number of gallstones. Usually this procedure is successful when one gallstone blocking the bile duct can be removed. The alternative to this procedure is removal via abdominal surgery of the gall stones and gall bladder.

IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTE

We recommend that people experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms do not attempt self-treatment. With many medications being available over the counter, and numerous do-it-yourself online unqualified remedy recommendation, it is natural to consider treating yourself but we highly recommend against this.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms you may have a more significant issue than you would expect from the sometimes muted or infrequent symptom you may be experiencing. It is important to keep in mind that is you are having gastrointestinal symptoms or concerns it is best see a doctor to have those symptoms diagnosed and any conditions treated. Also, it is worth noting, that if health conditions do exist, the earlier they are diagnosed and treated, the greater the probability will be to successfully eliminate or manage a present condition, in fact successful outcomes will increase significantly with early detection.

If you have gastrointestinal concerns or are experiencing any gastrointestinal symptoms, please contact us promptly to schedule a consultation with a physician.


DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way, does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class physician regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today at (215) 321-4700 to schedule a consultation.