The gallbladder is a pear-shaped body organ located below your liver responsible for collecting, dispersing, and storing bile. Bile is a digestive fluid your liver produces to help your small intestines digest food. When your gallbladder develops problems, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, pain, vomiting, and chronic inflammation.
Your doctor may then recommend gallbladder surgery or a cholecystectomy to remove the organ entirely and eliminate your pain. But when exactly would Lenox Hill Surgeons, LLP call for gallbladder surgery? Here is a look at five gallbladder conditions that are best treated this way.
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Gallstones are pebble-like masses that form in your gallbladder. They are made of bile, which your gallbladder stores and releases to the small intestine when needed. Depending on different factors, gallstones can be as little as a grain of sand or as large as a tennis ball. It is the latter that causes problems. Gallstones can be very uncomfortable and can cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and blotting. If these symptoms are chronic or recurring, surgery may be the best way to find relief.
Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas and is a serious medical condition. The pancreas produces hormones that help your body process glucose and digestion-helping enzymes. While mild cases of pancreatitis can improve with noninvasive treatments, some acute and chronic manifestations may be severe enough to become life-threatening. The condition can also cause blood in your stool and vomiting, further endangering your health and necessitating surgery.
Gallbladder Cancer and Other Growths (Polyps)
When malignant growths develop in the bile ducts of the gallbladder, you may be diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. This is a very rare condition that is often asymptomatic but may produce symptoms similar to cholecystitis and gallstones. It may also cause a lump in your stomach. Like any cancer, gallbladder cancer is a serious condition and may become life-threatening if not treated. It is often associated with gallbladder polyps, which are benign growths that grow out of the gallbladder’s mucous lining. Most polyps are harmless but about 5 percent become malignant.
An Inflammation of the bladder, cholecystitis, may happen due to bile duct blockages. It often occurs when a gallstone blocks the duct, which is the tube through which bile leaves your gallbladder. When this happens, bile may accumulate in your bladder, leading to infection and inflammation. Cholecystitis can also be caused by tumors and structural problems in the bile duct and can be very painful.
Biliary dyskinesia is a rare condition characterized by functional problems in the gallbladder. It affects the organ’s ability to dispense bile into the bile ducts, otherwise known as motility. When this happens, bile may move back into the bladder, causing pain, inflammation, and infections as with cholecystitis. You may notice your abdomen distending as your gallbladder swells due to bile accumulation.
But Why Surgery?
All of these gallbladder conditions sound painful and scary but why risk surgery? First, left untreated, cholecystitis and gallstones can cause jaundice, vomiting, chills, nausea, and pain. These symptoms can make your life unbearable. Cholecystitis can also increase your risk of gallbladder rupture, which is a life-threatening condition.
Second, you can survive without your gallbladder and cholecystectomies are the most effective ways to permanently eliminate your pain. Even better, the surgery is minimally invasive. If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms you think might be related to your gallbladder, contact a provider today to learn if surgery is an option for you.