Gallstones 

Introduction 

Gallstones

Gallstones are the most common cause of emergency hospital admission for people with abdominal pain. About 8% of the adult population has gallstones and 50,000 people a year have an operation to remove their gallbladder.

Media last reviewed: 14/11/2013

Next review due: 14/11/2015

Gallstones are small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. In most cases they do not cause any symptoms and do not need to be treated.

However, if a gallstone becomes trapped in a duct (opening) inside the gallbladder it can trigger a sudden intense abdominal pain that usually lasts between one and five hours. This type of abdominal pain is known as biliary colic.

The medical term for symptoms and complications related to gallstones is gallstone disease or cholelithiasis.

Gallstone disease can also cause inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). This can cause persistent pain, jaundice and a high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F) or above.

In some cases a gallstone can move into the pancreas, causing it to become irritated and inflamed. This is known as acute pancreatitis and causes abdominal pain that gets progressively worse.

Read more about the symptoms of gallstones and the complications of gallstones.

The gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ situated underneath the liver. The main purpose of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate bile.

Bile is a liquid produced by the liver, which helps digest fats. It is passed from the liver through a series of channels, known as bile ducts, into the gallbladder.

The bile is stored in the gallbladder and over time it becomes more concentrated, which makes it better at digesting fats. The gallbladder is able to release bile into the digestive system when it is needed.

What causes gallstones

It is thought that gallstones develop because of an imbalance in the chemical make-up of bile inside the gallbladder. In most cases the levels of cholesterol in bile become too high and the excess cholesterol forms into stones.

Gallstones are very common. It is estimated that more than one in every 10 adults in the UK has gallstones, although only a minority of people will develop symptoms.

You are more at risk of developing gallstones if you are:

  • overweight or obese 
  • female – women are two to three times more likely to be affected by gallstone disease than men
  • 40 or over – most cases of gallstone disease first develop in people aged 40 or older and the risk increases as you get older
  • a mother – women who have had children have an increased risk of gallstone disease, which may be because the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy increase cholesterol levels

Read more about the causes of gallstones and preventing gallstones

Treating gallstones

Treatment is usually only necessary if gallstones are causing symptoms, such as abdominal pain.

In these cases, keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder may be recommended. This procedure, known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, is relatively simple to perform and has a low risk of complications.

You can lead a perfectly normal life without a gallbladder. The organ can be useful but it is not essential. Your liver will still produce bile to digest food, but the bile will just drip continuously into the small intestine, rather than build up in the gallbladder.

Read more about treating gallstones and diagnosing gallstones.

Outlook

Most cases of gallstone disease are easily treated with surgery. Very severe cases can be life-threatening, especially in people who are already in poor health, but deaths are rare in the UK.




Page last reviewed: 18/11/2013

Next review due: 18/11/2015

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The 59 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Bezza1 said on 18 June 2014

I had my gallbladder out on 10th June and feel pretty good. I had keyhole with 4 incisions. Am a bit sore near my ribs and belly button but I am out of pain! I had an emergency op as my gallbladder was inflamed and I had 7 stones, I am now driving but taking it easy. Walking is tiring but that will become easier. This op will make me feel so much better as the pain of gallstones was dreadful. The Royal Surrey County Hospital were fantastic as were the surgeons. My appetite isn't great but that's no bad thing! Highly recommend this op if you're having problems. Just remember everyone heals differently.

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Julie1302 said on 06 June 2014

Looking back at what I thought was just gastric problems I had a severe attack in January. I was in complete agony & after speaking to emergency doctor was advised to call an ambulance. I thought I was having a heart attack. After trip to A&E and after having 3 ECG's I was discharged as everything ok. I went to GP as still had pain (not as bad though) and told him where pain was and my thoughts of gall stones.

Anyway, not long after I had a scan which confirmed 1 large gallstone & was referred to a surgeon who them agreed to remove my gallbladder.

I had my op last week and I am so relieved that I'll never get that pain again. I was concerned as a friend of mines husband died a few weeks ago due to peritonitis caused by a ruptured gallbladder.

As others have said just keep on at GP's/hospitals until you get the action you need

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Amber000 said on 14 May 2014

Hi

I was dagnosed with gallstones last December and have just received surgery so want to share my experience to help others.

I first started to have attacks 4 years ago (I am female, fertile, was nearly 40 but not fat). The pain I experienced was like a stabbing pain in the middle of my chest which then went round the back up to my shoulder blades. In the meantime I got very hot (was perspiring) vomited and fainted. This lasted about an hour. My urine was very dark and had pale stools for a few days after.

I got the odd attack but months could go by so I put it down to bad heartburn. However from February last year the attacks got more frequent and then from October weekly often lasting for days. The doctor first dismissed this as IBS but after insisting a scan it transpired I had lots of small stones!

I had my op yesterday by keyhole and was able to make the 80 mile journey by home. I am awake early today due to the discomfort but otherwise the op was a success. Already the niggling pain I always felt has gone and whilst it's early days to predict how long my recovery will be I know that I won't be ill again.

My advice to others is to go to the docs straight away and ask for really strong painkillers. My consultant was shocked I didnt get any prescribed even after numerous visits to A&E.

My diet is healthy but I can start to introduce things like eggs and cream slowly as the consultant said I will have to adjust not having a gallbladder.

I can't praise Belford hospital enough for my care and am looking forward to having a pain free life.

The operation isn't fun but I was lucky as no complications and I would recommend it to everyone.

Good luck to those waiting xx

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Hugo Z Hackenbush said on 10 May 2014

On the NHS site for treatments for gallstones at


http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gallstones/Pages/Treatment.aspx#comment14515


I have detailed the benefits I have obtained from taking peppermint oil capsules rather than having an operation to remove the gall bladder.

I hope this self treatment is as effective for others as it has been for me, though I realise everyone's different, but at least it might be worth a try before taking the decision to have the bladder removed.

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mrssnip said on 06 May 2014

Hi, I'm 26 and been suffering awful pain in my back, upto my shoulders and around my sides to underneath my ribs at the front. The only was i can describe it is that it isnt sudden, i can feel the pain coming,:getting stronger and stronger and it feels life ive been severely winded. I've had 4 attacks now, 3 which were in the lasr 2 weeks of my pregnancy and the latest attack, 2 weeks post labour. The latter which resulted in my husband phoning for an ambulance and I was rushed into a & e because the pain was that bad! At first they thought it was a clot on my lungs but tests cleared that it wasn't and it's only after speaking to my midwife (who had her gallbladder removed a few y ears ago) that's made me think I could have a gallstone. The only symptom I've had so far is these awful attacks of pain and I've noticed that I'm sweating a lot in bed at night. What I was wondering is A. What does the pain feel like when you have an attack caused by gallstones and B. Does the excessive sweating occur during your attacks or at completely different times? Any advice / info would be really appreciated!!

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polly64 said on 24 April 2014

My 34 year old daughter who is slim, a vegetarian, and barely touches alcohol has had an ultra sound today and diagnosed with a large gallstone which will need open surgery due to its size.
She has had this since she was about 17. She was told by her GP that the discomfort and pain she experienced was down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The medication they kept trying her on just didn't work. Two months ago I witnessed an attack in person and saw my daughter writhing on the bathroom floor crying in agony from the strength of the pain. She then vomited and immediately felt better. I told her to make an appointment with her doctor and I would accompany her this time. I requested he send her for a scan. So glad he listened to me. she could have gone on for years not knowing and more importantly putting her life at risk.

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kathleen62 said on 20 March 2014

I was diagnosed 4yrs ago. The pain was unbelievable, I went to A&E then was admitted to a ward. I spent 5 days in hospital, went for scan on the 4 day then told that I needed my gallbladder removing, but they couldn't do it because I was over weight. Told to go home and lose weight then go back to see my GP. Was also told by the doctor doing the rounds on the wards to go to weight watchers and then pointed to a female, about a size 6/8 at the side of him that I needed to look like her and it was in front of the nurses and people on the ward who quite obviously hear every thing that was being said.Very embarrassing and upsetting. I was given Tramadol capsules for the pain. Some thing that I take on a regular basis when I have a flair up. I certainly wouldn't leave home with out my tablets. I've been to the GP so many times over the same issue, so I decided to go to different doctor, after a really bad flair up last December. He was very understanding and sent me for a scan. In the mean time my tummy is really swallow and uncomfortable. Only to be told that at the Scan they couldn't find my gallbladder!. I now have a appointment at the hospital. What will they do? Think I will lose mind if they don't do some thing !

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Jadebow3773 said on 16 March 2014

I'm 22 and have been suffering with gall stones since I was about 17 after been told I had bad indigestion for months I was finally referred to the hospital for a scan to which they found I had gallstones I was then referred to a surgeon 3 months later! By this time I was pregnant and the surgeon told me it would be worse whilst pregnant but to go to my gp to be referred after I had had my baby. Throughout my pregnancy it was fine had no trouble at all! A couple of months after having my baby I started getting the pain again so went back to the doctors who the. Referred me back to the surgeon. When I went to see the surgeon his attitude towards me was disgusting! He asked me what the problem was so I began to explain I had gall stones and he stopped me and said I will be the judge of that. In the end he basically said I wasn't having enough attacks to warrant them been removed! So a year later I'm still suffering and it's got a lot worse and a lot more often the pain has been that bad that iv ended up passing out so now I'm waiting for another scan on Friday. Fingers crossed they get me to a surgeon sooner rather than later! I wondered how long it took people from having a scan to seeing a surgeon and having the gall bladder removed?

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ozzy33 said on 11 February 2014

I have been admitted to hospital with similar pains to what i used to get with gallstones, the fever sickness etc im in agony but of course having my gallbladder removed i wouldn't have dreamt it was gallstones till they scanned me and found 2 maltezer size gallstones, now there telling me i must be 1 in a million with 2 gallstones, i think they didn't remove correctly what do you all think please

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Puppi66 said on 26 January 2014

I just felt like I had to share my experience here as well. I have been diagnosed in August 2013 with gallstones after months of terrible pain on my right side and A&E trips. The first consultant was totally incompetent despite seeing lots of gallstones on the ultrasound picture he diagnosed a muscular skeletal disease??? So he took his time with a transferal. I eventually was suppose to have an appointment in Kingston Hospital in November which got cancelled, then the next one in December got cancelled again. Then I finally got to see a surgeon and he was quite caring and understanding about it and promised to put me up for an operation within the next two months. I thought great at last so the OP was suppose to be on the 3rd feb and now it got cancelled again. Do these people not understand how painful gallstones are and debilitating for ones Life and work? I am in pain every day and can't focus very well at work despite the painkillers. The person who wrote 'it feels like giving birth to an alien' put it very well. That is exactly what a colic feels like as if your stomach is about to explode. It is agony but for the NHS I am (we are) just a number on piece of paper. What are these mysterious circumstances beyond their control? I would love to know. It just makes me sad to think how are people treated with cancer or more serious conditions. :-(

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concerns said on 20 January 2014

Just a thought I'd like to put forward before anyone does liver and gallbladder flushes - perhaps you might like to read this - http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html
The best of health to you all!

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Exhaustion212 said on 19 January 2014

It's shocking just how long they are making people in pain and sickness wait for these scans and surgery. I'm currently waiting to talk to a surgeon to arrange to have my gallbladder out. I've been violently sick on and off for ten weeks straight now, admitted to A&E twice, the first time I was ignored for 3 hours then given a bed, rehydrated, given paracetamol via drip for the pain and mucogel for the heartburn, then sent home being told after blood tests that it was just a stomach virus and I needed to be more careful about hygiene around food, almost exactly a week later I was sick again only this time worse, so back to A&E I go, ignored for half an hour after being given a bed, my dad had to beg one of the nurses for pain relief for me. After an hour as a half a doctor saw me and sent for blood tests, which came back abnormal for my gallbladder but everything else including liver was ok, I was then asked to wait up to 5hrs to see a surgeon to see if I need scans. I didn't, by then my pain had gone so I discharged myself and saw my GP the next day who ordered an ultrasound, which wouldn't have been done yet had my dad not phoned to see what was going on, they sent the appointment letter to the wrong address and even though it's urgent, gave me a date which was weeks away..but thankfully my dad managed to get me an earlier appointment and the scan confirmed 19 stones! I was referred as urgent/emergency to the surgeons on Monday last week and we have to call them tomorrow as they don't work all week apparently. I can't eat, I'm living off flat lemonade and water, terrified because if I'm sick once more I have to go straight back to A&E...I'm in pain and all sorts and I feel like they're just leaving me until I end up dead or something :(

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Sazi78 said on 15 December 2013

I had my first attack of pain a year ago in November. I have since had two ultrasound scans which showed between 12-15 gallstones and an MRI. The gastro consultant recommended an endoscopy before my gallbladder is removed. The endoscopy showed some gastritis in my stomach but everything else was clear and he said that it is common and many people have that. So I am booked in for my gallbladder to be removed this Friday. Whilst I am looking forward to being pain free I am more than a little nervous of having the operation and also of any side effects after. However, I also know I can't leave it be as the pain is awful.

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Rachel sparkle said on 03 December 2013

Hello I'm a 24 year old women and been having back pains since having my little girl but the last few times I've been getting them on the right hand side of my stomach really bad pains so I went to dr and she referred me
To have a scan. I went for the scan yesterday and the lady told me there was a stone in my gallbladder and th pains were attacks and that the results will go back to my dr in a week. I've been going onto google to find more about it and I'm confused have I got gallbladder disease and will I be ok? Not had any more pains for 3 weeks I'm just really worried at some of the things I have read can anyone help? X

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Maxii said on 15 November 2013

I have been in pain for almost 3 years with my gallstones, 2 of which I didn't know what was wrong with me. After a bout of severe pain under my ribs which spread round my back which made me vomit and sent my blood pressure crashing down so much the hospital thought I was having a heart attack. Later that was found not to be the case. I was then fine for a few months until January this year when I was in so much agony I could neither stand up, sit down or even wear a bra for days. I was scanned at the hospital and told I had gallstones and my gallbladder had to be removed. On seeing the surgeon I explained my hubby works abroad and asked if I could have a date that fitted into his 5 week window. Of leave. I was given 13 jan 14. A few days later I received another letter saying sorry we can't do the op then but can do it in march instead. I have explained that I am scared of going under anaesthetic and would like my hubby with me but now because the surgeon is on call - the reason why my op can't take place at the original date. Surely there has to be another surgeon who is qualified to do this op and relieve me of this agony of sickness, pains in my back and side and lack of sleep??? I am a care worker working with the elderly and I have no choice sometimes but to lift and it's absolutely agonising to the point I want to pass out. I can't keep taking time off work as I'll eventually lose my job. This thing is ruling my life and I just can't wait to get it out. Can someone please tell me if there is another surgeon who can do the op or if I can request to go to another surgeon in another hospital and just get this out and over with? Thank you.

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LoveJoyLondon said on 15 November 2013

I did a gall bladder and liver flush using epsom salts, olive oil and lemon juice. I passed hundreds of tiny stones and several handfuls of larger stones in my stools in the morning. No need for surgery or washing NHS resources, cost a few pounds.

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Tiger1204 said on 13 November 2013

I had pain for about a year and a half every time i went to doctors they said i had heart burn and ibs,after i gave birth this year i was in alot of pain so i went back they just gave me tablets finally they sent me for a scan and i found out i had gallstones i waited to get a pre-assessment and finally after all this wait next friday i got my operation to get my gall bladder out.Hopefully it all goes well and the pain goes so i can enjoy spending time with my baby girl

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Tiger1204 said on 13 November 2013

I have been told i have got gallstones about 9months ago and i need to get my gallbladder out.Been sore for a while and i just got tablets every time i went to doctors,finally i got a scan and got told i had them and i had waited 4 months for my operation and now i got told i will be getting it next friday now.Cant wait for the pain to go away finally

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ilafo said on 16 October 2013

I had the worst experience ever with the NHS: I had been in pain and vomiting even when the smallest amount of food for 2 weeks ( the time I had to wait to see my GP) then he said nothing to worry about and he gave me Gaviscon to take in case of pain; the week after I was vomiting every day, my weight went -6kg and one night the pain was so bad that I couldn't breathe so my flatmate called the ambulance, they took me to hospital then I thought "yey! They are going to tell me what is it" No. Not even a scan or a blood test, they gave me some painkillers and sent me home with the night bus. So next day I went to A different hospital asking for a scan because I thought I had gallstones and the said they only do it if my gp says it is required. Week 6, my weight was -9kg. With the last energies I took a flight back home (Italy). On the same day I got admitted to hospital, I had the scan, my gallbladder was packed with stones and my pancreas infected which is very dangerous! They sent me to the emergency department and my operation lasts 6 hours. I still had my job in London where they weren't paying any sickness so I went back to work still with stitches on. Then it was time to remove them and I couldn't find anybody who was going to do that. Both gp and walk in hospital said I needed a letter from my Italian hospital saying I had to remove the stitches. (Whaat?!) Basically I had to wait 4days extra than the advised time to take them out so when they did it was so painful because my skin had "grown" on top of them...argh! So instead of having little holes as the laparoscopy scars should be, I have little lines like cuts on my belly. No comment. :(

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cathl26 said on 15 October 2013

I just wanted to say what excellent service I have had from the NHS Leeds/ Bradford. I went to my GP with gallstone symptoms on Friday afternoon. I was referred by fax for a scan. I was contacted by the scanning department on Monday and offered an appointment Tuesday (today). When the NHS gets such a bashing so often I felt the need to give praise where due!

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Wildatheart said on 13 October 2013

I am 39 and started suffering with a pain to the right side of my abdomen and in the centre of my chest about 4 weeks ago. It started on a Wednesday and by the Sunday the pain was so bad I thought I was having a heart attack and admitted myself to the hospital. They kept me in the hospital for a week whilst they ran various blood tests and performed an x-ray and ultra sound on me. The ultra sound revealed multiple gallstones in my gallbladder. The Gastro team then came to see me before discharging me from the hospital and their diagnosis was that they suspected I had passed a stone through the bile duct which was why the pain had been so bad. I am now waiting for an op and no idea when that might be. The problem is that I keep having attacks about once every few days and these can be quite debilitating. I have had one this afternoon and I am now exhausted! The last one was so bad I vomited with the pain of it. Can anyone suggest anything which may make the attacks less frequent (or less severe)? I am already on a low fat diet. However, I wonder if there is anything else I am doing which is causing the pain to keep resurfacing. Please help.

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hanpid said on 30 September 2013

I am 24 and have been suffering with stomach pains since I was 13. I was previously told I had helicobacter pilori and since then I have had a repeat prescription for lanzoprazole or omoprazole without any further investigation being made into why I experience these fit of pain. I cannot remember the last time that I didn't have a dull ache or stomach pain. I have never been overweight if anything I was underweIght up until having my son 2 years ago. Even now I only have a bmi of 20. So I don't believe the rubbish about the cause being overweight and river 40!

They finally sent me for a scan to check for gallstones and after my scan I had 7 different doctors come in to the room to view my scan as they couldn't believe how many gallstones I have to the point that there is hardly and fluid showing on the ultrasound.

They believe that I must have had them for a very long time.

I am really anxious about having my gallbladder removed but at the same time it will be a relief not to have stomach pains for aleast a day.

But what I feel most is anger at the fact I have been mis-diagnosed for so long!!!

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beckyhx said on 25 September 2013

I started getting these intense stomach pains Feb this year. Was rushed into hospital where they told me I had heartburn and even after an x-ray they sent me home with nothing but some gaviscon. Second time round they gave me buscapan for cramps as well. Then I went through my docs and was sent for an ulta-sound. They discovered I had stones in May and was put on the list to have my gall-badder out.
I had the op on 6th September and am so happy now. The only problem i'm still trying to get fixed is my yellow skin!
My advice to anyone who has this pain and is waiting for help, reduce the fat in your diet and drink plenty of chilled fruit juice. I drank Ribena, cranberry juice things like that. I drank them all day everyday and very rarely had attacks. Made waiting for the op much easier.

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Becc123 said on 06 September 2013

To annier999, what sorts of foods are you actually eating. A week before my op i really watched what i was eating and i had no pains what so ever! I stayed away from milk and changed white bread to brown, also i drank alot of apple juice which helps soften the stones ive read, also you have to eat small but frequently, if you eat a huge meal that could set it off plus dont do anything strenuous, that can set it off too. Hope your op goes well :)

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Annier999 said on 02 September 2013

I started having terrible pains in upper abdomen a few months ago. At first I thought I was having a heart attack. After a visit to A & E and some online research I was sent for an ultrasound scan and gallstones were diagnosed.

I have already seen a consultant and am just waiting for a date for the operation. He thinks, from some of my symptoms, that a stone may be impacted and arranged for liver function tests so he knows the situation before he operates.

I am very pleased at how quickly everything has happened so far. My GP took me seriously and I only waited a few weeks for a scan - on a Sunday! Maybe we have the system right in Leeds?

I have managed to remain at work until the last few days. The pain, however, is coming more frequently and lasts longer even though I am following a low fat diet. Maybe that's the trapped stone? Paracetamol and ibuprofen aren't touching the pain. I thave tried moving (normally a brisk walk has helped) and resting and neither is helping. Any suggestions?

I am going back to GP today to ask for painkillers and a sick note. I don't want to stay off work until the operation but I suppose that might be necessary.

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Becc123 said on 29 August 2013

Following my last post on the 1st of August, I've had my gallbladder removed and it was the best thing I did. Before having it out I had experienced more attacks and was back and too to a&e. They took another blood test to find my pancreas was I flamed due to the gallstones, I was then admitted to the hospital to have further tests, including an ultrasound and CT scan which to my relief all clear. I then had to wait for my slot to have the op. I was clearly explained what was going to happen and how I'd feel afterwards. When I came round I was very sore but they soon gave me pain relief, I was then took back to the ward to recover. After about 5 hours I was so desperate to have a wee (sorry if tmi) I just couldn't seem to go it drive me mad! I wasn't allowed to walk yet as it hadn't been long since the op but I was determind! By 2am I was up walking, never wanted to walk so much and get to the loo! Lol .. I was very sore the first 2 days after the op, couldn't laugh or cough properly because it hurt but that's to be expected. After a 5 days I was craving pizza which I was aprehensive about but I went ahead anyway and I was fine. No pain, nothing! I was so on edge when eating it because as others will no fatty foods caused the gallbladder to contract but no I was perfectly fine. I also never had the sickness afterward of the runs. Suppose I was one of the lucky ones. Only issue I have 4weeks on is I'm shattered all the time, I'm only 21 and normally I'm wide awake full if beans. Just hopeing it passes because I'm starting to sleep like a pensioner lol.

On a brighter note anyone who has suffered with there gallbladder and unsure about surgery, I would highly recommend it.

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brysta said on 22 August 2013

Just reading peoples comments and thought i'd write one! I am so confused, a few months ago i started to get pains under my ribs which would last around 5 hours, at first I could deal with it but as time would go on I would be so uncomfortable and in tears! I normally end up being sick!! I only get eposiodes every now and then but i am starting to feel sick nearly every day now!! I've had a scan and nothing has shown up and now i am being sent for an mri! Im totally fed up with it and it has now started to control my life as i am always thinking about it!!!

Any comments would be helpful :)

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MiniF2 said on 19 August 2013

I found the service very good. Like many on here, I was taken into A&E with intense pain around the bottom of my ribcage. Got prescribed Omeprazole and Paracetamol for the immediate pain. Initial diagnosis - gastric ulcer or liver disfunction (markedly high liver function results). After a couple of days of the Omeprazole the pain was gone, but returned when I forgot to take it one day (D-oh!). My Doctor arranged an ultrasound and laproscopy. Had the ultrasound today, and gall stones identified. Process took about 3-4 weeks. Now just have to wait a week to speak again with the Doctor for the next step.
Overall quite happy with the service.

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Becc123 said on 01 August 2013

Since having my baby 6 weeks ago, I'd be having those sharp awful pains in the top of my ribs which was lasting longer each time I got the pain! At first I thought it was wind but no! After going to the MRI which they didn't have a clue what was wrong with me even though they ran no tests apart from feeling my stomach, they sent me home to then me having another attack the next evening needing the ambulance out. They then took me to another hospital for them to actually run tests to tell me it could be gallstones, they sent me away with pain relief and to book a scan through my gp. I went to my gp which I'm sure he thought I was making it up, he organised the scan and yet again I got sent away! I had another 2 attackes over two days which I went back to the doctors once again, to then finally got heard after me getting shouty with the doctor. She's then made my scan 'clinically urgent' and sent me for another blood test! I then received a letter in the post for a scan within the next week! Just shows you have to shout your problems before they listen! Also on the plus I haven't had an attack within the past week and I think that's been due to be gulping apple juice. I've had slight uncomfortable aches in my ribs but nothing like the actual pain! I hope when I have my scan they'll tell me it's passed!

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x_sullie_x said on 10 July 2013

Looking at all the peoples comments above I believe I may have gallstones as I get an amense pain in the middle of my chest under my ribs usually at night. I've spoke to my GP about this and was told to keep an eye on this and monitor the foods I'm eating. My mum has previously had gallstones and told me to drink apple juice when the pain occurs, by doing this it always makes me burp and somehow the pain goes away!! Just thought I'd share this with you all :-)

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Mellymelmel said on 02 July 2013

The NHS re gallstones are absolutely useless! Diagnosed Aug 2012. Put on surgery list Oct 2012, emergency list Nov 2012, expedited list Jan 2013 to get my gb removed. Was finally given a date (July 1st) only for them to cancel 2 hours before!!!!! I have turned yellow (jaundice) so many times, blacked out, been rushed to hospital via ambulance 3 times (they took over 12 hours each time to get a Dr to me). I've been admitted 6+ times. Currently 'living' on bananas and dry toast as everything else makes me ill! Wish I could afford to go private! I feel as if I'm in a third world country!!!!

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User320815 said on 28 May 2013

Can I ask, at what point does the NHS do anything about Gallstones! 10 weeks I have been waiting for an ultra sound! and still no sign. 2 GP visits, 2 NHS Direct conversations who tell me to return to the GP, an extraordinary amount of pain every other day and given peppermint oil and gallbladder relaxers. I am currently extremely weak, been sweating for over 24hrs followed by amazing shivers and still waiting NHS direct to phone me back! At what point is this unacceptable service!

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dopey1947 said on 18 May 2013

hi everybody ihave suffered sickness diarrhoea terrible pain since december! at last i am going for an ultra scan the new dr. i saw thinks it is gallstones and told me to cut out all dairy products and fats! what do i eat? anybody know a good recipe book? i have lost a bit of weight at 65 i look better at 10stone than 8.7! look forward to reading your comments thanks

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sandimuppit said on 15 May 2013

i have had this since last year august and i am due to have my op in 4 weeks time which i have to say am excited in a sense for this pain as you all know is something woubutldnt wish upon your worse enemy and it is worse the having a baby but i do want to say is offer some advise to those when do have an attack is run a bath as hot as your skin will take it lie on your right side and lie still this eases the pain quite quickly but be sure to take your normal pain killers and anti acids before hand this helps

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Beaky1983 said on 12 May 2013

I suffered with gallstones for about 7 months and was told it was just IBS. I fell asleep one evening and woke up with a pain just under my ribs. I thought it was indigestion but gradually the pain got worse until I was lying on the bathroom floor screaming in agony. The pain sliced through to my back and was excruciating. It made me sick but it didn't help the pain, eventually my mum phoned 999 but they wouldn't send anyone as I was conscious (?) and to take a paracetamol. After about an hour the pain subsided but left me feeling so ill and for the next 24 hours I suffered with reoccurring pain and feeling rubbish. This happened on and off for a number of months. Eventually I went back to the doctors as my mum noticed the pain I was getting was higher than it should be for IBS and when she mentioned to the doctor, as an afterthought , that I turned yellow when I was having an attack he immediately organised an ultrasound for gallstones. I mentioned that I couldn't get an ambulance as I was conscious which he found extremely surprising and said that if I needed to phone an ambulance again we must say i'm jaundiced as it's very serious.
Gallstones were discovered and surgery was booked for 3 months later, I had to cut out all fat from my diet as any sort of fat could set off an attack.
I did have to go into hospital a week before surgery as I had an almighty attack and it was explained I had an extremely infected gallbladder.
I have absolutely no complaints regarding the surgery to remove my gallbladder, the people could not have been nicer and was quite funny to see the look on their faces as I practically skipped into the theatre. Although it was my first operation I could not wait to get this thing out that had made me feel permanently ill and in pain for 7 months.
I would advise anyone suffering from this to insist the doctor looks further into it as I find they diagnose things as IBS a lot as soon as you say you have pain.

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colin royle said on 29 April 2013

Last Tuesday 1 hour after tea while watching Barca this pain began in the base of my breast bone and bcame so severe had to get to Aand E at midnight went through many tests inthe next 5 hours, but was sent home with a packet of co codamol. the pain eventualy susided abot 11am wed. my gp is arranging a scan for gallstones.this pain is horrific.

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J McFarland said on 02 March 2013

I would suggest everyone change their diet to the slightest changes you have or once you even get a little pain or you have been told you have stones but they are silent stones because doctors will only do one thing, and that is: remove the gall bladder instead of just taking only the stones out. They say it saves time and money, more efficient and the stones will return but unless one changes their diet, stones can form in anywhere else. So, basically you need to switch to lots fibre, plenty of water and cut out all junk food. If you have your gall bladder out it doesnt solve problems. It solves maybe one problem but there are lots of side effect including explosive diarrea, or constantly the need for a toilet after meals and bile salts taste horrible, would you sprinkle it at restaurant ?

Also a lot of gall stones are due to liver not functioning properly, i.e. congested liver - needs a liver cleanse and reduce your cholestrol because a lot of stones are cholestrol stones.

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beckyr87 said on 20 October 2012

Hi, i was told i had a massive gallstone after having a ultra scan. Before this my blood tests where coming back saying my liver function wasnt working properly.
Since then i have been getting the worst pain in my right side under my ribs. It seems to be after eatting anything. The pain comes and goes, i already take tramadol for a bad back and im worried this is masking something else, should i be worried?
Any info would be helpfull

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sarahann87 said on 07 October 2012

hi,
started having unbearable stomach cramps over 5 weeks ago, and 2 attacks were after eating a large burger and chips meal other times from sandwiches and other foods. Went to my gp twice and both times said it was a water infection, then was rushed into a&e threw night as the pain was at its worse and was also sent home again with antibiotics which after 3 days did nothing i was still in agony, so went back to my gp which referred me back to hopsital with queried appendicitis, spent 5 days in hospital with pain relief which was a god send, had scan but all clear, but they hadnt checked for gallstones so got to go back foranother scan in 2-3 weeks. My grandma had gallstones so im starting to think i probably have got it too but not 100% sure yet. Im just worried i will have another attack even though i have cut out fat all together since my hospital trip as i have 2 young boys to look after so cant risk anything. My other symptoms other than the stomach cramps are high temperature occasionally, constipation, sweating and ive gone off certain foods that i used to love. Does thhis sound like gallstones?

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ljac said on 19 September 2012

suffered 2 bad bouts of upper abdo pain in last 2 months..1st 1 went to a&e sent home with lansaprozole and told was immflamation of stomach..the 2nd 1, 2 weeks since lasted 6 hours..a&e again as couldnt stand the pain..ad the max morphine and gas and air,never had pain like it..inbetween breastbone and in my back,sent home again..no scans or xrays told to carry on with tabs and make app for upper endoscopy(tommorrow)..not had a proper meal for 2 weeks,my life is on hold as im frightened of another attack,hope to get to bottom of it all tommorrow..

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singingyogi said on 06 September 2012

Sorry I'm new to all this and realsie that the comment I've pasted below is from 2010 ! Any updates??

I was told that gallstones can't be treated by ultrasonics because the gallbladder is too deep itno the body.

Why don't doctors fit a small ultrasonic head to a medical probe and feed it into the body and treat them this way?

This would only require a small inscision under local anaesthetic, you could then pass the probe into the body until it was close to the gal bladder and then use the ultrasound to break up the stones. No general needed, no loss of gall bladder, good for both patients and doctors (2010)

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singingyogi said on 06 September 2012

Have you asked anyone yet about this? I really would like to research this before the GB is removed!

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singingyogi said on 06 September 2012

I hae just been diagnosed with 8 medium sized gallstones in my gallbladder and my GP says the GB needs removing but I would like to keep it if possible. I also have Barretts Oesophaugus and IBS and have read that whilst living without a GB is fine it can cause diarrhoa, which is lthe last thing I need!

Does anyone know if Lithotripsy is available at all for me? Or any other non-surgical methods of getting rid of the little darlings? I have been having quite a bot of pain, bloating etc for quite a few months but thought it was just the IBS
I've just seen tThe idea abovethat looks interesting- do you reckon anyone on the NHS woud do it? Also any alternative ways of breaking them up- diet and Yoga?? Thanks

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Firefly66 said on 08 August 2012

My husband is right now in hospital with a gall stone stuck in the bile duct. This latest episode was different from other gall bladder attacks in that it has lasted 3 weeks! resulting in an awful painful event and an ambulance. Now at least he is having antibiotics for the infection, which if left could have become as some here suffered. In the very near future there wil be an endoscopy to remove the stone, followed by removal of the gall bladder. But the whole thing is very scary. You call doctors, they agree it's gallbladder troubles, you take the pain killers, they don't work. You can't sleep, then you start turning yellow, still you are at home, why are the gallbladder disease people left for so long as it can result in a life threatening condition? Isn't it best to nip it in the bud before a crises develops? I feel really sorry for those who have suffered this, to be an observer is traumatic enough.

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Chrissieh1977 said on 05 August 2012

Hi like the previous comment was diagnosed with gallstones in Sept I was in total agony for weeks with repeated infections within my gall bladder while waiting for the operation, I was on tramadol and morphine which was some releif and was admitted through A&E with actue pain in Nov, however due to lack of beds was place on ENT ward and was badly let down. Going home after a week without any idea of why I was in so much pain I continued to suffers eventually in Feb I was given a date for my op but 2 days before and in the same day I saw my GP to try and explain that I was in far worse pain than ever (only to be told it was another infection and a dose of antibiotics) my husband found me at home unconscious. What I was never told was the risk of actue pancreatitis which is what I developed (due to the gallstones which had packed my gallbladder moving into my pancreas).
I had to spend 2 weeks in intensive care and 13 weeks over all in hospital. If you are in pain persist it nearly cost me my life.

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forevergrateful said on 27 June 2012

My advice to anyone who suspects gallstones is to pressure the doctors to organise a scan and, if confirmed, have the gallbladder removed as soon as possible.

I had a series of three pain attacks in late 2010 (waking in the night, severe pain below the ribcage) but all went off within 4/5 hours.

The worst one came in April 2011, excruciating pain had lasted 8 hours before I took myself to an emergency doctor. I was sent by ambulance to a cardiac unit until being discharged late at night still no wiser and still in pain. The pain subsided over the next 2 days and I saw a further two GPs over the next four weeks, each time being told it was nothing more than acid reflux.

Eventually I saw a different GP at the end of July, she guessed the true nature of the problem straight away and arranged an ultrasound scan which confirmed the gallbladder was ‘packed with stones’. I had a consultation in October and was given a date of 14 December for the removal of the gallbladder. During this time I had no repercussion of the pain little knowing that the worst was to come. The op was postponed (as sometimes happens) and on Christmas Eve I thought the end had come. I woke during the night feeling uncomfortable and by 8am was in absolute agony, doubled in pain, dizzy, vomiting and unable to keep down even a sip of water.

I was admitted to A&E with acute pancreatitis and spent the next 12 days in hospital. The gallbladder was removed although the operation took over 4 hours rather than the more usual 75 minutes but all praise to the surgeon who persevered with keyhole. I was discharged from hospital with a T-tube in place (and following an incident of peritonitis caused by an unsuccessful attempt to remove the tube) was not signed off until the middle of April.

So be persistent, if you’re in frequent pain then something is wrong and the removal of the gall bladder is generally quite straightforward – don’t wait until it becomes an emergency.

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debgill said on 23 June 2012

i was hoping someone could help me..Ive been in moderate to severe pain since Tuesday..the pain is just under my rib cage radiating to my back with nausea..i haven't been able to eat since it started..ive been trying to find out what the probllem was..and i think i have gallstones..how ever this morning at 3am..i woke in excruciating pain..i managed to get out of bed onto my hands and knees when i felt and heard a popping noise exactly where the pain was..immediately the pain subsided..and i managed to get some sleep..the problem is 9hours later it is now starting back up again...i dont know what to do..ive tried everyday to get into see my doctor with no luck...i dont want to bother the doctors and nurses in a&e..should i just wait until i can get into see my doctor x

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Zamenhof said on 22 June 2012

I too have had ultrasound and scans galore. They were inconclusive; my gall bladder wall appears to be "gravelly" and the surgeon was disinclined to remove the offensive organ so he prescribed Mebeverin and I was trouible free for months. My own GP suggested that I slowly withdraw from it and I continued fine. I have had three attackes since last Sunday, lasting 4, 3 and 2 hours respectively. My partner was more distressed than I. I cannot see my GP for another week and so I have requested a repeat prescription of Mebeverine and will have to see if it is forthcoming before my appointment. Once an attack starts I find it impossible to take any kind of painkiller or ven drink water as this seems to trigger the vominting. Fingers crossed!

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weenippy1 said on 21 April 2012

Hi Every1, it took 25yrs for my gallbladder to finally be removed, I had been trated for ulcers,ibs,helicobacter polyiri without being tested for it,finally in 2010 i saw a young doctor who was only in my gps practice for a year,i went in severe pain I burned my skin lying on hot water bottles for up to 8hrs at a time.He advised an ultrasound which showed my gallbladder was chock a block. for 4mths iwas admitted into hospital & had endescopes done which showed inflammation,I saw my surgeons understudy who said he didn't think it was gallbladder as my pain was on the left side!!! morphine taken with paracetamol was what I was prescribed, pre-op dec 2010, op january 2011 a one day stay,met the surgeon who said he agreed with the understudy that it wasn't gallbladder,fortunatley he agreed to take a look.Well I awoke to be told ANATOMY like no one else,The surgeon said I was a challenge,he had performed over 3000 gallbladder ops & had never seen anything like it.My gallbladder had split,puss & poison had been leaking & had stuck to my other organs which had stuck to each other & were shrunk,there was hundreds of stones one large stone had split the back wall of the gallbladder & had cut my liver which was bleeding,there was a tube coming from the liver to drain it that was removed the next day, my organs have laserations & abrasions he said I will ALWAYS have abdominable pain.My Gallbladder was sent to another hospital for annalasis which I haven't heard anything about. Two days after being disharged I was rushed back in with infection at the gallbladder site,another 12days hooked up to a drip & 3 units of red blood cells givin. A mth later back for an MRI which showed stones stuck in the pancreatic duct & duedenim, this time endiscope to remove them without a general anesthetic. they were called MUD stones & were triangular with smooth edges just like pebbles obviously due to the years of being there. PLEAE don't suffer this.

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JeannieK said on 10 April 2012

My husbands symptoms started with neck pain, diagnosed as arthritis. This was a few days before the "onslaught" of severe abdominal pain and feeling sick. Emergency doctor was called, but we were referred to a walkin centre - this was Easter sunday! Saw dr who diagnosed a spasm. Gave prescription, but with comment "nowhere open today you'll have to wait until tommorrow"
Returned home and throughout day pain worsened. Called emergency dr again. They weren't sure what to do - suggested calling 999. Called 999 took details - ambulance promised within the hour. Hour went by and no sign. Another 15 mins - rang 999 again. Ambulance not on its way - been diverted. Husband now in so much pain, against his protests bundled him into back of car. This was the worst 30 minute journey of our lives. He collapsed when we reached hospital. All I can say is thank God we got him in the car - diagnosis at hospital Acute cholecystitus. Could have been fatal! People out there - if you have the symptoms of this awful condition seek mediacl help immediately - don't be fobbed off.

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tashatjjc said on 07 March 2012

i was having problems last year and my doctors were baffled in august last year i was sent for scans and when i got the results it foumd i had gallestones and i would need keyhole i have loads of little stones and will also need my gallebladder out two weeks ago i was due ro have surgery and it was cancelled the day bedore im constantly in pain ibe started goin yellow and was been sick i was just seeing if anyone could give me some advice thank u

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rob9691 said on 27 February 2012

I first had a gallbladder attack in August 2009 though it wasn't serious. Subsequently, they occurred about every seven weeks, always after eating curry. It was only a year later when I had the symptoms after blander food that I went to see my G.P. who immediately suggested the possibility of gallstones and sent me for a scan which showed a 3.6cm stone. After a consultation with a specialist it was decided to put me under observation for three months on a low fat diet. Initially things went well but out of the blue came a serious attack - excruciating pain, fever and nausea which led to emergency admission to hospital. A week later, the gallbladder was removed with keyhole surgery at Wythenshawe hospital, Manchester. All the staff were outstanding and I'm now free of pain, heartburn, excessive belching and flatulence and unpredictable bowel movements as well as being able to eat a normal diet. Have this operation and don't suffer! My only negative comment concerns the suggested recovery time of two weeks as it wasn't until nearer four weeks that I felt fully back to normal.

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LD74 said on 17 February 2012

I was diagnosed with gallstones in July 2011, when I was hospitalised due to one being lodged in the bile duct, causing jaundice and severe pain.

Several previous trips to A&E resulted in no diagnosis, as if people thought I was imagining it.

The stone was removed from the duct by ERCP, which is done while you are awake, involving an endoscope inserted orally. The bile duct was stented to keep it open to prevent more blockages in future.

Recently hospitalised with cholecystitis, expecting cholecystectomy by March 2012. Can't wait to be rid of it.

Pain can be truly awful. The sharp pains are easier to cope with than those attacks which last hours, days, or even weeks on end, not allowing you to eat or sleep.

Low fat diet helps prevent an attack, but you cannot prevent them all together.

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pikeman1 said on 07 February 2012

just thought i let others know fear not i had my gallbladder removed by key hole surgery after suffering a lot of pain . didnt know what to expect . had my op at 9am was sitting up at 10 .30 am drinking tea and eatting ham sandwich .thinking should i feel this good and joking with nurse . unbelivable but true . nurse said i could go home in afternoon .following day i was driving car and carrying on with life as normal . dont know if this is normal but this was my experience . so fear not get it done then carry on with life


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DelaHaye said on 13 June 2011

Ihave a large lodged stone. Too big for keyhole surgery. Why can't they take the stone out under general and leave the bladder where it is. I understand removal of the bladder can create all sorts of problems and leaving the stone alone can result in cancer.

DelaHaye

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DelaHaye said on 13 June 2011

I have a large lodged stone. T is too big for keyhole surgery. Why can't they take the stone out by normal surgery and leave the gallbladder in

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Colenso said on 20 September 2010

Alsone:

Under the treatment tab above, you will find and entry for lithotripsy which addresses your comment:

"Lithotripsy

Lithotripsy is a method of concentrating ultrasonic shock waves onto the gallstones to break them up into tiny pieces.

The healthcare professional carrying out the lithotripsy procedure will first use an ultrasound scanner to determine the location of the gallstones. They will press a sensor against your abdomen, next to the gallstones, which will then deliver the ultrasonic waves onto the gallstones.

Once the gallstones have been broken up, they can be safely passed out of your body in your faeces (stools)."

I don't know who told you that "gallstones can't be treated by ultrasonics because the gallbladder is too deep into the body" but it should be evident to you now that you have been given incorrect advice.

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Tormented said on 16 August 2010

After having my gallbladder removed i found that i gained quite a bit of weight that i have been unable to shift even though i exercise everyday. I found that this is a side affect of gallbladder removal :(

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Alsone said on 05 August 2010

I was told that gallstones can't be treated by ultrasonics because the gallbladder is too deep itno the body.

Why don't doctors fit a small ultrasonic head to a medical probe and feed it into the body and treat them this way?

This would only require a small inscision under local anaesthetic, you could then pass the probe into the body until it was close to the gal bladder and then use the ultrasound to break up the stones. No general needed, no loss of gall bladder, good for both patients and doctors.

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