Gallstones are small, hard deposits that slowly form in the gallbladder, a sac-like organ that lies under the liver on the right side of the abdomen. They are usually composed of bile fluid, which is produced by the liver to aid in the digestion of fat, and cholesterol.
In some cases, patients experience symptoms of gallstones without the appearance of the stones; this condition is known as acalculous gallbladder disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Gallbladder conditions are typically discovered with the use of ultrasound, X-ray, CT scans, or nuclear imaging. For some gallbladder diseases and gallstones that cause symptoms, the safest and most permanent fix is surgical removal of the gallbladder.
Today, most gallbladder surgery is performed laparoscopically by the surgeon, meaning that it is removed through four small incisions rather than through one, large open incision.
Post-operative patients may experience soreness at the incision sites that lasts a couple of weeks. Most patients living without a gallbladder experience little change in their digestion, however, it may be necessary for them to adjust their diet based on guidance from their physician.