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.
Gallbladder removal is one of the most commonly performed laparoscopic surgical procedures.
Gallbladder removal surgery with minimum invasive techniques is also termed as “Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy” or “Lap Chole”.
Surgery: Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the only way to cure gallstones. This can be done by conventional (open) method or a well-established endoscopic (laparoscopic) method which is now the ‘Gold Standard’.
The surgery is called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Lap. Chole). For this operation, the surgeon makes few tiny punctures in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments and a miniature telescope with amounted 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.
What if a stone slips into the Common Bile Duct (CBD)?
Slippage of the stone(s) in CBD may cause pain or jaundice or both. This situation requires an endoscopy (ERCP) for removing the stone(s). This should preferably be done before surgery. However it may also be done after the operation.
How do we confirm if a stone is in the CBD?
Sometimes a stone in the CBD may not show on ultrasound; however patient may have symptoms which are indicative of the same. In this event, the patient requires magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP – an MRI scan) which shows the presence of stones in the common bile duct.