Gallbladder stones form either a single big stone or multiple small ones. Most of the time, the patient will not even realize that he/she has Gallstones as Gallstones may not show symptoms. But if diagnosed, doctors will suggest treatment within a month or two. If the patient doesn’t get treatment for gallstones then it may lead to further complications, which can be life threatening. Hence, it is important to treat the gallstones as early as possible.
There are two possible options to treat the Gallbladder Stones. They are Non-Surgical (Gallbladder Stones Treatment without Surgery) and Surgical (Cholecystectomy) options.
Gallbladder Stones Treatment without Surgery
After the diagnosis of gallstones, patients usually ask for non-surgical process. But doctor will rarely suggest or opt for non-surgical treatment. This is because non-surgical treatment might take a long time and sometimes there is a risk of Gallbladder Stones forming again. In some cases, medications might end up worsening the condition. The non-surgical options available are:
1. Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Sometimes the doctor may prefer Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). In this process, surgeon will combine x-rays and upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy to remove the gallstones. If gall stones are stuck in bile duct then surgeons will prefer ERCP.
2. Dissolving Gallbladder stones through medications.
Since medications are only effective against small stones, doctors rarely advise patients to take medications. These small stones form because of cholesterol. Surgeon may prescribe medications that will break up small stones. But, it might take months or years to do so. If the medications are stopped, then there is a chance that the gallstones will form again.
Surgery to remove Gallbladder (Cholecystectomy)
Non-surgical methods for gallstones are mostly ineffective. Some medications can further complicate the condition by increasing the size of gallstones instead of decreasing it. So surgery is one of the best options to treat gallstones. In surgery, the entire gallbladder is removed. There are two ways to remove gallbladder and they are:
1. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
In this type of surgery, the surgeon will remove gallbladder through laparoscopic surgery. Surgeon will make four incisions of 1 cm size and then remove the gallbladder. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is mostly a day-care procedure, which means the patient can return home on the same day of surgery. In some situations the patient might have to stay back for further supervision.
2. Open Cholecystectomy
If the gallbladder is severely infected, inflamed or scarred from other operations then the doctor will suggest open Cholecystectomy. This might be a follow up surgery after Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy and will be done if complications may arise. The doctor may keep the patient in the hospital for up to a week for supervision, after which the patient is free to go home.