HOW ARE GALLSTONES DIAGNOSED?
- Blood tests
- Complete blood count
- Liver function test
- Coagulation profile
- Abdominal ultrasound or Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan)
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR GALLSTONES OR CHOLECYSTITIS?
The symptomatic stones and diseased gallbladder should be removed by a surgical procedure called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. In this procedure, the gall bladder is removed using long narrow instruments through small incisions in the abdomen.
- Treatment of symptoms of pain with injectable or oral painkillers.
- No medical therapy is available for gallstones as such which can cure the disease. Injectable or oral antibiotics and supportive medications are available for treating the infection and overcoming the acute attack.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the only way to cure gallstones. This can be done by:
- the conventional (open) method
- Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy ( Gold Standard)
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: The surgeon makes few tiny punctures in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments and a miniature telescope with a mounted video camera into the abdomen. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor, giving the surgeon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. While watching the monitor, the surgeon uses the instruments to carefully separate the gallbladder from the liver, ducts, and vessels. The gallbladder is then removed through one of the small incisions. Recovery usually occurs within few hours in most of the cases in the hospital, followed by few days of rest at home. As there is no damage to the muscle (muscles are not cut) during laparoscopic surgery, patients have less pain and negligible wound complications.
If the surgeon finds any difficulty in the laparoscopic procedure, the operating team may decide to switch over to open surgery. It is called open surgery because the surgeon has to make a 5 to 8-inch incision in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Open surgery has faded into the background with the laparoscopic technique providing significant advantages and ease for the patient.
Nonsurgical approaches are used only in special situations such as when a patient’s condition is not fit for anesthesia and surgery. This does not cure the patients as it only provides symptomatic relief.