A gallstone is referred to as a cholelith, a stone which is formed inside the gallbladder. These stones can be formed due to high amounts of cholesterol in the bile that is bilirubin or too less of bile salts. The reason behind these imbalances is not quite clear. Some studies have proved that gallstones may also occur if the gallbladder does not empty very often or completely.
Patients with gallstones may experience intense pain in the upper-right portion of the abdomen along with bouts of vomiting and nausea which can continue for half an hour approximately. Individuals may also experience pain below the shoulder blades or the right shoulder.
Gallbladder stone treatment can be done in two ways: surgically and non-surgically. Non –surgical procedures involve medications such as chenodeoxycholic acid or ursodeoxycholic acids which can dissolve cholesterol gallstones. This procedure is ideal for gallstones which are small in size.
However, these medications have to be taken for a long period of time and they are rarely very effective. Side effects of the medication include itchy skin, nausea and vomiting.
The methods of gallbladder stone surgery are of two types. First, Open Gallbladder Surgery (Cholecystectomy) and the second is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery. On the basis of the patient’s body weight, anatomical structure and previous surgical experiences, the doctor will decide on which surgical procedure to choose.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a single incision in the abdomen to remove then gallbladder under the border of the right rib cage or in the middle part of the abdomen, between the navel and the end of the breastbone. The gallbladder is separated from the cystic duct and the duct is closed. Any tissues that keep the gallbladder attached to the liver or any other body part are also separated. After the removal of the gallbladder, the incision is then stitched.
The benefits of Open Gallbladder Surgery include pain relief, treatment of infection and prevention of re-occurrence of gallstones in most cases. This surgery is ideal for people who are overweight and have an abnormal anatomy. The possible risks involved during this type of surgery are bile leak, bile duct injury, fever, infection, numbness, liver injury and raised scars. Moreover, the rest period before operation is very long.
The second procedure, Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery is also performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon creates tiny incisions in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments along with a miniature telescope and camera in the abdomen.
The role of the camera is to send magnified images to the monitor, which helps in carefully separating the gallbladder from the liver and other vessels. Next, the gallbladder is removed through one of the incisions. The advantages of this procedure are that the patient experiences less post-operative pain and faster recovery than open gallbladder surgery. The surgery requires just a day of stay at the hospital and the marks or scars are also nil or minimal.
The disadvantages of this procedure are not known but if there are any complications, then Open Gallbladder Surgery is preferred over the former. The gallbladder stone treatment cost depends on the type of procedure required for the removal of gallstones or gallbladder. The cost of the treatment also depends upon the immediate condition of the patient.