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At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our highly skilled gastroenterologists are well trained in assessing and treating patients with gallbladder and bile duct stones. Our team of experts will offer you guidance and counseling so you can fully understand your condition and what your best treatment options are.
The gallbladder is a small organ that stores a substance produced by the liver, called bile. This small organ is shaped like a balloon and releases bile into the small intestine during meals in order to help with digestion. Bile ducts are small tubes that transport the bile from the liver into the gallbladder and from the gallbladder into the small intestine. When stones are formed in the gallbladder, there’s a high risk that they will migrate into one of the bile ducts, causing blockages.
Gallbladder stones, or cholelithiasis, and bile duct stones, or choledocholithiasis, result from the formation of stones that form in the gallbladder that migrate towards the bile ducts, where their blockages can cause severe symptoms. Stones that form in the gallbladder can have various shapes and sizes and consist mostly of calcium, cholesterol and bile pigments, or bilirubin.
More than 10 percent of the population has gallstones, and about 15 percent of those who have gallstones will also have bile duct stones.
As the gallbladder is not an essential organ, it is very common, when dealing with gallbladder stones, for the gallbladder to be completely removed. The surgical procedure of removing the gallbladder is called cholecystectomy, and it is considered extremely efficient. Gallbladder removal surgery is only recommended when the patient has severe symptoms because its removal can have some unpleasant consequences, such as chronic diarrhea, pain in the upper abdomen or constant gastrointestinal problems caused by the postcholecystectomy syndrome. Some of the most common surgical procedures are:
The most common treatment methods for gallstones and bile duct stones are the surgical procedures. However, there are certain medications and non-operative procedures that can help dissolve the stones that are generally prescribed to people who cannot undergo surgery. Additionally, some patients who have already undergone cholecystectomy surgery may subsequently suffer from postcholecystectomy syndrome and need additional treatment. Some of the most common drugs and treatments are:
There are three different types of stones that can develop inside the gallbladder:
The presence of stones inside the gallbladder is generally asymptomatic, while the presence of stones inside the bile ducts can cause blockages and trigger the following symptoms:
Some of the most commonly used tests to detect the presence of gallstones or bile duct stones are:
The most important risk factors for the development of gallstones and bile duct stones are:
The main cause for gallbladder and bile duct stone formation is represented by the crystallization of certain substances found in the gallbladder. While 80 percent of all gallbladder stones are the result of cholesterol crystallization, the other 20 percent results from bilirubin and calcium. However, there are other causes that can lead to the formation of gallstones such as:
Gallbladder and bile duct stones cannot be cured with alternative medicine or treatment, but there are certain alternative treatments that can help prevent their formation. Having high levels of cholesterol in the liver is one of the main causes for gallstones formation. Therefore, herbs and plants that help reduce cholesterol can be beneficial when trying to prevent them. However, gallstones can become a serious issue and it is strongly recommended that if you suspect you might have this condition that you speak with your doctor before trying any alternative treatments.
Some of the most popular alternative treatments for gallstones and bile duct stones are:
Although gallstones and bile duct stones cannot always be avoided, especially if they are hereditary, there are certain things that can be done in order to prevent them, such as:
Are you suffering from gallstones or bile duct stones? For any questions, information or guidance related to gallbladder and bile duct stones treatment, get in touch with our specialty-trained, skilled gastroenterologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.
William Katkov, M.D.See Profile »
Donald Henderson, M.D.See Profile »
Steven Lerner, M.D.See Profile »
Mayur Trivedi, M.D.See Profile »
Shahab Mehdizadeh, M.D., M.A.See Profile »
Adebambo Ojuri, M.D.See Profile »
Robert Fan, M.D.See Profile »
Stephen Parnell, M.D.See Profile »
Sadeea Q. Abbasi, M.D., PhDSee Profile »
Sterling M. Dubin, M.D.See Profile »