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GALL BLADDER STONES

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OVERVIEW

TREATMENT

LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY

ADVANTAGES OF LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT LAPAROSCOPIC GALL BLADDER SURGERY

OVERVIEW

CAUSE: The reason for formation of gallstones is still unknown in most cases.

SYMPTOMS: Usually pain in the Right Upper Quadrant (Right side-upper half) of the abdomen. Symptoms of complications include fever and jaundice. Gallstones may also be present without symptoms and they may be detected on ultrasound scanning.

COMPLICATIONS: Infection can cause pus formation in and around the gall bladder and this pus may spread, causing a serious condition called peritonitis. Stones may move out of the gall bladder and block the bile duct and cause Jaundice or Pancreatitis.

DIAGNOSIS: Gallstones are easily diagnosed by the use of ultrasound scanning.

PREVENTION: There is no known method of preventing formation of stones in the Gall bladder

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TREATMENT

In most instances gallstones cannot be dissolved by medical treatment . The Gall Bladder must be removed along with the stones in it. People have asked me if "Gall Bladder Flush" therapy works. To my knowledge this treatment not effective and I do not recommend it. Doctors cannot ethically use or recommend any treatment unless it is known and proven to be both effective and safe in a significantly large proportion of people.

LITHOTRIPSY: Using ultrasonic shock waves to break stones is not a currently accepted form of treatment for Gall Bladder stones.

SURGERY: The most effective cure for gall bladder stones is surgery. The classic "old" operation required a big cut, but nowadays most people are treated by Laparoscopic Surgery.

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LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY

This is currently the treatment of choice for Gall Bladder stones. The Gall Bladder and the stones are removed through small punctures. It is technically possible to remove the stones alone - but this would leave the problem gall bladder behind - which could continue to cause problems or form stones. Removing a diseased gall bladder does not cause any disability. Under normal circumstances, one would not feel the absence of the gall bladder.

LAPAROSCOPIC CHOLECYSTECTOMY

(Removal of the Gall Bladder via key-hole size punctures)

This operation is performed by specially trained surgeons. Special equipment is used to look inside the abdominal cavity ("stomach") with a video camera. The Gall Bladder with its stones are removed through small punctures.

A general anaesthetic is required and one has to stay in hospital for about 72 hours.

Laparoscopic surgery for gall bladder stones cannot be done in all cases. Some people, whose stones have moved out of the gall bladder into the bile duct may need either an open operation or an additional procedure known as an ERCP.

In addition, it is not technically possible to do a laparoscopic operation at all in some people because of severe inflammation or adhesions between organs. Such patients mat require an open operation.

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ADVANTAGES OF LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY:

1. Much less painful, only 3 to 4 stitches are needed.

2. Only 2 to 3 days stay in hospital (as little as 1 day in some instances)

3. The patient can eat and drink the soon after operation. There usually no need for an intravenous drip to be administered for 2 or 3 days as used to be the case after "open" cholecystectomy - the name used for the operation of removal of a gall bladder through a big cut.

4. Normal life can be resumed in about a week.

5. Minimal blood loss at surgery.

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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT LAPAROSCOPIC GALL BLADDER SURGERY

DOESN'T THE GALL BLADDER HAVE ANY FUNCTION THAT IT CAN BE REMOVED WITHOUT AFFECTING THE BODY IN ANY WAY?

The job of the Gall bladder is to store and concentrate bile. When stones form, gall bladder function is impaired, and though stones can be removed without taking out the gall bladder, the remaining diseased gall bladder can cause further stone formation and symptoms.

WILL I HAVE SEVERE PAIN? No. This is the great advantage of the Laparoscopic operation.

HOW LONG WILL I BE IN HOSPITAL? Only 2 or 3 days (as little as 1 day in some instances)

WILL I NEED A BLOOD TRANSFUSION? No

WHAT WILL I BE ALLOWED TO EAT AFTER OPERATION? You can eat and drink normally.

HOW WILL I BE AFTER OPERATION? After the initial recovery period, which may take about 1 week, you will be able to live normally.

WHAT ABOUT MY WORK? Most people can start normal work about 1 week after operation.

CAN I HAVE CHILDREN? Yes. The operation does not affect childbirth.

CAN GALLSTONES RECUR? No. In fact, studies show that the formation of stones is less likely after removal of the gall bladder

WILL I BE FULLY NORMAL AFTER MY GALL BLADDER IS REMOVED? Yes. Completely normal. You will feel no side effects.

CAN MY GALL BLADDER STONES BE DISSOLVED BY SOME MEDICINE? No. The only effective cure is to have the Gall Bladder removed. This is best done by Laparoscopic surgery.

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