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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Gallstone removal options?

 Phaser - Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:41 pm

I've looked and looked to no avail .... can some please tell me why a single gallstone cannot be removed from the gall bladder surgically without removal of the bladder itself? If it is indeed a bladder, I would (in my lack of knowledge) think a small incision could be made and the stone removed. Any input on this will help.

 Theresa Jones, RN - Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:32 am

User avatar Hi Phaser,
There are procedures for removing gallstones. A procedure called an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatoscopy) allows removal of some bile duct stones. A Cholelithotomy is a surgical incision into the gallbladder to remove stones. This is usually performed on people that are too ill for removal of the gallbladder. This procedure does not cure the problem because the liver may continue making faulty bile, (unless it's composition is altered) therefore stones will reform. There is also a nonsurgical treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgical intervention due to other medical problems where a medication (bile acid) can be administered in patients whose gallstones are small and of a certain composition. Lithotripsy has also been successfully used to break up stones but there is a chance they may become lodged in the duct and cause a multitude of problems. Since the gallbladder is essentially not a vital organ, when it becomes diseased etc. the recommended treatment is removal.

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