Raise your hand if you know you have a gallbladder but don’t know where it’s located in your body. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, hollow organ that sits under the liver on the right side of your abdomen. The sole purpose of your gallbladder is to store bile after it filters through your liver, before it’s released into your intestine. Sometimes the gallbladder refuses to do its job, and the experienced health care practitioners at Central California Surgery, with offices in Modesto and Stockton, can get it working properly again.
Gallstones, a common condition, form when substances in bile crystallize, which makes it difficult for them to pass through the gallbladder. The substances usually are harmless but can cause pain and inflammation. If a gallstone isn’t able to move along, it can cause an infection known as cholecystitis. When this happens, you may experience severe pain and fever and may need surgery.
Another condition, while rare, is gallbladder cancer. It’s fairly difficult to diagnose gallbladder cancer, and unfortunately, it’s usually during the later stages when symptoms start to appear. More often than not, symptoms mirror those of gallstones which makes it harder to detect. Perhaps the most serious of condition is gallstone pancreatitis, where a gallstone becomes blocked and insists on blocking the ducts that drain the pancreas causing inflammation and severe discomfort.
When it comes to treating conditions that develop in the gallbladder, there are several options. There’s gallbladder surgery, known as a cholecystectomy, where one of the surgeons at Central California Surgery removes the gallbladder entirely. If there’s an infection present, antibiotics are used to prevent any potential spreading. In the unfortunate case cancer is detected, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used after surgery. Treating gallstones can be done with an oral medication, ursodeoxycholic acid, which helps dissolve the stones and minimize symptoms.
Since the gallbladder has limited responsibilities, removing it has very little effect on your overall health. There’s occasionally a small risk of diarrhea or fat absorption since the gallbladder uses bile to aid in fat digestion. Otherwise, there are typically very few complications from having a gallbladder removed.
Gallbladder issues are more often than not examined by using an ultrasound. Ultrasound is a non-invasive way to check for gallstones and to get a visual of the gallbladder wall. Another test is HIDA scan where radioactive dye is injected and secreted into the bile. Having this procedure done helps determine if cholecystitis is present by watching the bile to see if it moves from the liver into the gallbladder.
Central California Surgery accepts all major insurances. Please contact the office for additional detail regarding insurance.
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