Gallstones and Gall Bladder Polyps
Gall bladder stones are present in approximately 10-20% of the society. It is mostly diagnosed incidentally in an ultrasonographic examination. The most commonly seen type among the gall bladder stone types is cholesterol stones. Increase of the cholesterol amount in the bile leads to stone formation. Another reason of stones is the ones resulting from microbes which reach to the gall bladder.
Approximately 75% of gall bladder stones do not show any symptoms. It is not very correct to attribute some mild complaints such as indigestion and gas complaints to the gallbladder of people with gallstones.
• Stomach ache occurring once a month or more
• Pain lasting 30 minutes – 24 hours
• Pain that has occurred within the last year
• Pain that wakes the patient up in the middle of the night
Presence of these complaints means that the gallstones have become symptomatic. There is a risk of complications in 20% of the gallstones that have become symptomatic.
• Acute cholecystitis
• Obstructive jaundice – cholangitis
• Biliary pancreatitis
These complications develop as a result of the stone in the gallbladder obstructing the gallbladder duct, the main bile duct.
When the gall bladder stones become symptomatic or one of the mentioned complications develops, it means that surgery is needed.
The surgery usually done laparoscopically and gall bladder is removed with the stones inside.
There is not any clear scientific data showing that gall bladder stones lead to cancer. Since people who have gall bladder cancer usually also have gall bladder stones there is a general belief that it causes cancer however, it is not clear whether the stone causes cancer or cancer leads to stone formation. If a person has gallstones but does not have any complaints, it is not right to go for surgery to eliminate the risk of cancer.