People have tried to treat gallstones with in many different ways over the years. Some of these treatment concepts were good ideas but they turned out not to work. This included medicines to dissolve gallstones and shock wave treatment to break up the gallstones stones. Both of these treatments turned out not to work well, can actually make things worse and more dangerous, and should be avoided. Other treatments like “gallbladder flushes” unfortunately do not work at all for gallstones. They flush your intestines and colon and produce much debris but do not get rid of gallstones.
The only effective treatment for gallstones is surgery. This surgery involves removing the gallbladder with the gallstones and is called cholecystectomy. Cholecystectomy is a common surgery. Fortunately people live normally after their gallbladder is removed.
Dr. Lourié may recommend cholecystectomy if you have:
- Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
- Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
- Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
- Gallbladder masses
- Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis)
Previously the only surgery available was open surgery, which usually involved a big muscle-damaging cut under the ribcage with often a difficult recovery. Although no longer recommended by Dr. Lourié, some surgeons still occasionally use this method.
Both laparoscopic and robotic enhanced surgeries are much less invasive than open gallbladder surgery and result in less pain and faster recovery. In most case these surgeries are outpatient surgeries and you go home the same day. It takes about a week to fully recover.