The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that is situated in your abdomen region. Its function is to aid in digestion. After eating, bile will be released from the gallbladder which will help in digestion. This then reaches the small intestine by passing through small tubular channels.
Gallbladder surgery is a commonly performed surgery. Gallbladder surgery does not affect digestion in a majority of the people. It is usually done when gallstones are found in the gallbladder. Let us see more about gallstones and understand why they pose a problem.
Gallstones and associated risks
- Gallbladder problems are usually caused due to the presence of small stones formed due to cholesterol and bile salts in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. These stones are called gallstones.
- Gallstones are more commonly seen in older people. Other risk factors are being overweight and prior to pregnancy. Also, gallstones are common in females than in males.
- So far, there hasn’t been any well-known method to prevent gallstones.
- As mentioned earlier, the gallbladder has to release the bile to aid digestion. However, with the presence of gallstones, this flow may be blocked, resulting in the swelling of the gallbladder. This leads to pain in the abdomen, vomiting, ingestion and also fever in some cases.
Also Read: Gallbladder Cancer Causes and Early Symptoms
The Medical Term for Gallbladder Surgery is Cholecystectomy.
Types of Cholecystectomy
There are 2 types of cholecystectomy:
In this minimally invasive procedure, you’ll have 4 incisions on your abdomen through which a tube with lights and camera and surgical tools will be inserted to take out your gallbladder.
A large incision will be made on your gallbladder where the gallbladder and liver are exposed.
Causes of gallstones
Too much cholesterol in your bile
Your bile has chemicals which dissolve the cholesterol. But, if the cholesterol is in excess, they can form into crystals that turn into stones.
When your body breaks down the RBCs, bilirubin is formed. However, when there’s too much bilirubin produced, it adds to the formation of gallstones.
When your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly, the bile might concentrate and turn into gallstones.
Types of Gallstones
These are yellowish green in color and are composed of cholesterol that is hardened. Eighty percent of gallstones are of this kind. These are formed due to the reasons mentioned above.
These stones are small and dark in color. They are formed due to the presence of excess bilirubin. They are usually seen in people with liver cirrhosis.
These stones consist of both cholesterol stones and pigment stones.
Gallstone Size and Risk of Developing Gallbladder Cancer
Gallstones are a major indicator of gallbladder cancer. This is why doctors recommend the removal of the gallbladder when gallstones are diagnosed. People who were diagnosed with large gallstones were found to be at a greater risk of cancer. However, this study is not confirmed with data analysis.
Although there have been findings of relation between gallstone size and cancer, it is not a reliable source. You need to let your GP decide whether you need surgery or not.