Cholecystectomy is one of the most generally known surgeries doctors conduct to remove gallbladders that consists of tiny, solid fragments known as gallstones. These gallstones do not spontaneously disappear and they start to cause pain or develop new symptoms and complications. 

The gallbladder is a small organ located at the upper abdomen. It functions as a collector and storage of a liquid called bile, which helps the body break down food.


  • Cholesterol Stones

Most gallstones develop when there is excessive cholesterol in the bile. Cholesterol stones are commonly yellow-green. They are the most prevalent, comprising 80% of gallstones.

  • Pigment Stones

They form when the bile is composed of too much bilirubin, a substance that is in yellow-orange, developed during the normal disintegration of red blood cells. Pigment stones are smaller and usually dark brown or black.



Gallstones may produce zero to minimal symptoms. However, if a gallstone settles in a duct and generates clog, the signs and symptoms may include:

  • Abrupt and hasty aggravating pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Abrupt and hasty aggravating pain in the center of the abdomen, below the breastbone
  • Pain in the right shoulder or back
  • Upset stomach
  • Indigestion, heartburn, gas
  • Vomiting or nausea


If there exists any sign or symptom that seems worrying, it is best to make an appointment with a physician. More so, seek immediate help if these signs and symptoms of severe gallstone complication occur:

  • Extreme abdominal pain which makes it difficult to sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Skin and whites of the eyes turning yellow
  • Belly pain that lasts for hours
  • Dark urine and stool
  • High fever and chills


The physician will conduct a physical examination that involves checking the eyes and skin for apparent change/s in color. Turning yellow may be a sign of jaundice, which is caused by excessive bilirubin in the body. The examination may include utilizing diagnostic tests that help observe the inside of the body, including:


  • Ultrasound

This is a popular imaging method that produces images of the body’s inside, particularly the abdomen.

  • Abdominal CT Scan

Specialized x-rays that allow the physician to see the inside of the patient’s body by taking pictures of the liver and abdominal region.

  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)

Uses a magnetic field and rhythms of radio wave energy to generate pictures of the inside of the body, including the liver and gallbladder.

  • Gallbladder Radionuclide Scan

It is an essential scan that takes about one hour to conduct, where a specialist administers a radioactive substance into the veins. The substance then transits through the blood to the liver and gallbladder. It can display evidence to point out infection or clogging of the bile ducts caused by the stones on a scan.

  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

The doctor administers a tube called an endoscope through the mouth down to the small intestine. A dye is then infused to see the bile ducts on a camera in the endoscope.

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound

Incorporates ultrasound and endoscopy to search for gallstones.



Treatment is unnecessary if symptoms do not persist because some small gallstones can be eliminated from the body spontaneously. The majority of the gallstones have their gallbladders removed because it is still possible to digest food without it. Removal of the gallbladder can be done through two different procedures which are:

  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

This is the most general surgery for gallstones where the doctor runs a narrow tube, known as a laparoscope, into the abdomen through a small fissure. The surgeon then takes out the gallbladder through another small incision.


  • Open Cholecystectomy

The doctor creates larger cuts in the belly to take out the gallbladder.

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