Removal of gallstones

Posted , 6 users are following.

First of all, my heart goes out to all those GS sufferers, either pre- or post op. It looks like I'm joining the club, as 10 of the little blighters - average diameter apparently 1cm - have been spotted in my GB, though no adverse symptoms experienced so far.

After an exhaustive search of this forum, I can find NO reference to the removal of gallstones. I would love to hear from anyone who has had this done.

There's now a new procedure which uses the so-called 'spyglass' to breakup gallstones using powerful shockwaves and remove them, meaning that patients don't have to spend up to a week in hospital - and they get to keep the gallbladder. It's certainly something I'd like to consider, though goodness knows what the waiting list is, and even if it's available in the NHS. I'm really curious if it is becoming a viable alternative to the traditional gallbladder op. 

Looking forward to your comments


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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm not from the UK so not sure what's avaliable there but most surgeons nowadays simply opt to remove the GB as if you have stones once you can and probably will get them again.

    Still I agree it's worth asking around as there are a few procedures which can remove or destroy the stones. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I thought the spy glass was for stones caught in the bile duct, I know they dont tend to use the shatter effect as it can be dangerous, partial pieces can get stuck in other organs as well as it only being suitable for those with single stones upto a certain size?
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    • Posted

      Hi. Having read the article about the spy glass, I see what you mean about the use of the instrument to remove stones from the bile duct. I wonder if a procedure is being perfected to allow for removal of stones in the actual bladder itself.

      My concern is that removal of the GB is not a be-all end-all op that has no consequences for the sufferer. It's not the same as the appendix, which most experts feel is a truly redundant organ.

      List of possible complications people suffer:

      1) chronic diarrhea                    2) indigestion problems

      3) bloating stomach pain           4) difficulty digesting fatty foods

      5) retained stone in bile duct     6) injury to bile duct 

      7) deep vein thrombosis            8) risks from general anaesthetic

      9) post-op haemorrhage          10) internal infection after

      gallbladder removal                  11) perforation of the gallbladder

      12) during extraction                13) temporary constipation

      14) yellowing of the eyes and skin - jaundice

      15) fatty liver                            16) biliary (bile) issues

      17) developing deficiencies of essential fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients                                   18) bile no longer stored and concentrated in the gallbladder.

      Above all, surgery also does not address the root cause of the gallstones, and won't stop them from developing again in the future. Many doctors probably gloss over this fundamental problem. Now, I'm not in any way an advocate of non-removal of the GB, just for more people to be aware of the fact that it is promoted as an easy-way-out solution when GS discomfort does become unbearable and life-threatening. 

      I am prepared to pay money to a private clinic to remove my gallstones if at all possible, rather than face losing the whole bladder, bearing in mind the above-mentioned 'possible' complications.

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    • Posted

      re most of these can occur WITH the gallbladder.

      as well as the complicatons which can occur keeping the gallbladder diseased.

      I currently have

      1, yes, explosive and sometimes can only just make, it switching to cannot go at all.

      2 Yes bloating, gas, pain, rib brusied feeling.

      3 as above

      4 yes, gained heaps of weight, now suppliment with ox bile and digestive enzymes, if the gallbladde is full of stones, you cannot digest fat either.

      5 this can occur with stones anyway, many cause blockages

      6 can occur with stones from the gallbladder with the gallbladder still in.

      7 yes a complication with any surgery, so could occur when going under for the stones to be blasted

      8 risk with geneal with stone blasting too

      10 risk of internal infection with gallstones as well as rupture

      11 perforation can occur when the gallbladder is left in with stones

      13 this occurs with gallstones too

      14 again occurs with gallstones causing liver damage and or pancreas issues

      15 can occur with or without the gallbladder

      16 also occur with gallstones 

      17 also occur with gallstones as I have experienced

      18 ox bile suppliment can help, the specalsist I spoke to online mentioned that the liver still produces the same amount it always does, which is way more than the gallbladder holds anyway, so the gallbladder often spills the excess out in normal body functions

      true, they may still develop, but more often develop in the gallbladder so for most, they never get them again.

      It isnt a easy decision either way sadly.



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    • Posted

      also MANY who have had symptoms and issues have had a very nasty diseased looking organ when removed, some were only just removed in time, so dread to think how this could of poisoned and damaged the body and organs if left.
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  • Posted

    It's not a competition but they took 60 stones from my bile duct when they removed my gallbladder! My diet wasn't that bad either though I had been dieting. They had to reconstruct the bile duct. The thing is lots of people lead perfectly normal lives for years unaware of having gallstones. The problems happen when symptoms start. Maybe a low fat diet and smaller more frequent meals might help you?

    Once you have stones they multiply, which is why surgeons whip the gallbladder out as it reduces this but you can still have stones once it's out.

    Doctors warn that being overweight increases possibility of heart disease, diabetes and stroke but they never seem to mention gallbladder disease which can affect liver and pancreas. In my case I wish they had!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Gavin, I haven't heard of this but I expect its still in the trial stage so won't be available on the nhs. Generally they will opt to take out the gallbladder otherwise it will continue to make more stones which may move and cause further problems as others have said. When done via keyhole surgery, its as a day case, its only if open surgery needs to be done will you need to stay in for a few days but they only do this if there are other medical reasons.

    If your symptoms aren't too bad then there is a chance that they won't cause further symptoms but when they do you will end up having your gallbladder out I'm afraid.

    Let us know how you get on.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I am 6 months post op after removal of gallbladder and 100 stones exactly! It's day case surgery although I had to stay overnight as the Morphine makes me gaga 😝. A few days discomfort and no complications and all is well - beats the gallbladder attacks hands down, good luck

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  • Posted

    If you do end up needing surgery remember that the percentage of people who have post operative complication is very low. Patients who have recovered well don't tend to post. The ones who do post are the unfortunate few who may have other digestive health issues such as ulcers. They have my sympathy.

    The main method for removing stones from the common bile duct is ERCP. I had two but my stones were too numerous and large for this to work. I don't recall anyone offering or mentioning any means of removing stones from the gallbladder itself and leaving the gallbladder in situ. I suppose a lot depends on the state of the gallbladder. If stones and sludge have accumulated over time, the gallbladder itself may be damaged or diseased.

    As you appear to be asymptomatic, you may be one of the few who wouldn't even have been aware they had stones had it not shown up on a scan. If I were you I'd watch my diet - low fat/high fibre and avoid aicohol and just wait and see if symptoms appear. Gallbladder issues are closely connected with liver and pancreas problems.

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