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Gallstone Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed

Overview

Gallstones are stones made of cholesterol and other substances that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile. Bile helps the body digest food. Gallstones also can form in the bile duct. This is the tube that carries bile from the gallbladder and the liver to the small intestine.

Gallstones that block the gallbladder from emptying or get stuck in the bile duct can cause pain and infection.

Sometimes a thick material called "sludge" forms instead of stones. This can cause the same problems as gallstones.

The doctor may have given you medicine for pain. You may need follow-up appointments for more testing and treatment. If you continue to have problems, you may need surgery to remove your gallbladder.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Gallstones are stones that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small sac located just under the liver. It stores bile released by the liver. Bile helps you digest fats.

Gallstones form when cholesterol and other substances found in bile make stones. They can also form if the gallbladder doesn't empty as it should.

Gallstones can also form in the common bile duct or cystic duct. These tubes carry bile from the gallbladder and the liver to the small intestine.

Sometimes a thick material called "sludge" forms instead of stones. This can cause the same problems as gallstones.

If stones or sludge block a duct, treatment is usually needed.

Credits

Current as of: October 19, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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