Keyhole solution for gallstone discomfort

                                 

Mr Ahmed Hamouda, consultant at KIMS Hospital discusses the causes of Gallstones and the treatment available.

The gallbladder is a small pouch found under the liver which stores and concentrates bile, used by the body to help digest fats. It can cause a considerable amount of pain and discomfort if gallstones develop within it.

Gallstones are thought to develop because of an imbalance in the chemical make up of the bile, where the levels of cholesterol become too high and the excess forms into stones.

You are more at risk of developing gallstones if you are overweight or obese, a woman with children or aged over 40 as risk increases with age. They can cause intense pain in the stomach, feeling and being sick and jaundice.

Gallstones can often be successfully managed for a long period of time with changes to diet to ensure it is balanced and also medication to treat some of the milder symptoms, such as indigestion. For more severe cases or if you have high levels of calcium in the gallbladder or diabetes, your GP may recommend that your gallstones and gallbladder are removed, a procedure called a cholecystectomy.

The cholecystectomy usually takes around one hour and is performed under a general anaesthetic. For many people this will be a key hole procedure which requires a single incision. The benefit of this is you will have a smaller scar and should also have a faster recovery, being able to return home the day after your surgery has taken place.

For some patients however, a cholecystectomy won’t be recommended and they will need open surgery. This may be recommended for patients who are obese or have an unusual gallbladder or bile duct structure.

This is a procedure carried out under general anaesthetic and will require a larger incision into the abdomen under the ribs. Most people will require a 5-6 day stay in hospital after this operation and it will take around 6 weeks to recover. There will also be more visible scaring.

The gallbladder isn’t an essential organ and people who have had surgery go on to lead a perfectly normal life without it.

So if you have tried a number of options to deal with the pain and discomfort caused by gallstones and would like to consider a surgical solution, contact KIMS Hospital for a consultation. Call us on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk