Flagstaff Surgical Associates
General Surgery, Urology & Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists located in Flagstaff, AZ
Your gallbladder is a small pouch that forms part of your digestive system. Despite the gallbladder’s lack of size, the pain it causes can be excruciating and might require surgery. If you have symptoms of gallbladder disease, Flagstaff Surgical Associates in Flagstaff, Arizona, can provide you with both a diagnosis and the most appropriate treatments. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gallbladder disease, call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Gallbladder Q & A
What is the gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a storage area for bile, a substance that helps you digest fats in your diet. Your liver makes the bile, which then goes into your gallbladder. Your body secretes the bile into your small intestine through the bile ducts.
There are more than a few conditions that can affect the gallbladder. These conditions come under the umbrella of gallbladder disease.
What types of gallbladder diseases are there?
Some of the gallbladder conditions you’re more likely to experience include:
Gallstones are hard, solid objects that start off tiny but can grow to be as large as a golf ball. They’re made from debris in your blood and body fluids. The particles clump together and gradually increase in size and might get big enough to block the gallbladder and bile ducts.
Cholecystitis is inflammation in your gallbladder. Gallstones are most likely to be behind an acute attack, but other causes, including tumors, can sometimes lead to acute cholecystitis.
Chronic cholecystitis develops when your gallbladder suffers too many attacks of acute cholecystitis. This causes your gallbladder to shrink, so it can’t store or release bile the way it should.
Gallstones can sometimes get stuck in the neck of your gallbladder or your bile ducts. The bile builds up behind the gallstone, leading to inflammation and swelling of your gallbladder. Choledocholithiasis can be extremely painful and cause fever, jaundice, and vomiting as well.
Other conditions that might affect your gallbladder include:
- Gallbladder cancer
- Gallbladder polyps
- Abscess of the gallbladder
- Acalculous gallbladder disease
- Biliary dyskinesia
- Sclerosing cholangitis
- Gangrene of the gallbladder
Your provider at Flagstaff Surgical Associates diagnoses your gallbladder disease by reviewing your medical history and current symptoms and carrying out a physical exam.
You might also need to undergo further testing, including blood tests, ultrasound, X-rays, or a HIDA (hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid) scan.
How is gallbladder disease treated?
If you have gallbladder disease, it’s important to make changes to your lifestyle. Weight loss and a better diet can help, and if you have any underlying conditions, like diabetes, make sure you’re managing them adequately.
Gallbladder pain can be severe, so you might need medication to reduce inflammation and manage the pain.
If your gallbladder disease is causing severe inflammation or isn’t responding to more conservative measures, you might need to undergo gallbladder surgery. You don’t need your gallbladder to survive, so removing it isn’t dangerous.
Flagstaff Surgical Associates doctors have considerable expertise in performing minimally invasive laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. For example, they can carry out procedures like endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which can both diagnose and treat gallstones.
If you have symptoms of gallbladder disease, or you know you have it and your current treatments aren’t working, call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today or book an appointment online.