Stones form in the gallbladder when the liver makes more cholesterol than can dissolve in bile.

The most common symptom of gallstones is severe pain in the upper tummy which often moves around to the back. Often the pain is brought on by fatty or oily foods and wakes you up at 2 in the morning!

Your general practitioner typically requests a blood test (LFT: liver function tests) and ultrasound scan.

Treatment for gallstones which cause symptoms is by removing the gallbladder. This key hole operation is called: laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Gallstones are not suitable for blasting as is sometimes done for kidney stones.

Most patients go home on the day of surgery or the next morning.

Typically recovery takes 2 weeks.


This intraoperative image shows the gallbladder (and stones within it) as well as the gallbladder duct and artery.

The cystic artery and duct are divided during the operation and the gallbladder is then removed off the liver.


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