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The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

Gallstone Disease

 
<div>Gallstones are the most common illness affecting the gall bladder, a pear-shaped organ on the right side of the abdomen just beneath the liver which stores bile, a yellowish green liquid that helps in digestion. Gallstones are usually formed gradually over some time due to elevated levels of cholesterol, bile salts, or bile pigments present in the digestive juice. These stones can vary in size from small sludge to giant stones, which may be up to the size of a table tennis ball. Risk factors for developing gallstones include advancing age, female gender, obesity, rapid weight loss, and genetics. The diagnosis is usually confirmed using ultrasound.
</div><div> </div><div>Stones in the gall bladder may not produce any symptoms but if the stones obstruct a duct (an opening in the gall bladder called bile duct), they may cause biliary colic which leads to episodes of pain in the upper abdomen, with nausea and vomiting usually triggered by eating fatty meals. This can progress to severe inflammation of the gall bladder in which the pain does not resolve and fever develops. Gallstones can descend from the gallbladder into the bile duct where they can cause an obstruction and lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) which can further spread to cause infection in the liver and the pancreas. If left untreated the gall bladder becomes infected with pus formation leading to serious life threatening complications.</div><div> </div><div>Modern technology has enabled surgeons to remove the gallbladder with stones using a safe, minimally invasive approach called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. This method ensures minimal pain, enabling rapid recovery and early return to work and normal life. Patients can have the surgery and go home after a few hours of recovery time in the hospital.</div><div> </div><div>If you are experiencing upper abdominal pain, you should not ignore this symptom as your health may worsen. Seek medical attention as you might be suffering from gallstone disease which can safely be treated if diagnosed early.</div><div> </div><div><strong>Dr. Tabish Chawla FRCS (Glasgow), FACS (USA)</strong></div><div><em>Section Head General Surgery</em></div><div>
</div><div><strong>Dr. Omair Saleem </strong>
</div><div><em>Resident, General Surgery</em>
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