The gallbladder is a small organ located just below the liver. It stores a fluid called bile which aids in digestion. If gallstones form, they can block the flow of bile into the digestive tract. Gallstones can cause pain and sometimes more serious problems such as pancreatitis or cancer of the gallbladder.
Symptoms of gallstones include nausea, vomiting, indigestion and abdominal pain - especially after eating. Some gallstones, however, may cause few or no symptoms. See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. A painless imaging procedure called "ultrasound" can be performed to see whether or not gallstones have formed in the gallbladder.
If gallstones are diagnosed in the gallbladder, and are causing pain and discomfort, the gallbladder can be removed with minimally invasive surgery. A tiny camera called a laparoscope, along with operating tools, are passed through tiny incisions in the abdomen. Using the video camera as the surgeon's eyes, the entire gallbladder can be removed with little pain and minimal scarring. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, and you can return to work and normal activities in as little as a week.
You don't need your gallbladder to live a healthy life, and side effects related to the removal of the gallbladder are rare.
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