Nearly 20% of women and 10% of men will develop gallstones by the age of 60. Fortunately, board-certified surgeon Dr. David Chengelis has performed over 2,000 minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries to remove gallstones. Dr. Chengelis practices at Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery P.C. in Royal Oak, Michigan, serving the Greater Detroit area. He’s currently accepting new patients and looks forward to helping you lead a healthy and pain-free life. If you have gallstones, call or schedule a consultation online today to learn about your surgical treatment options. All surgeries are performed at Beaumont Health, Royal Oak Hospital.
Your gallbladder is a small organ nestled behind your liver. It stores bile made by your liver to aid in the digestion of food. However, over time, the bile in your gallbladder can thicken into sludge or solidify into stones — medically known as cholelithiasis.
Gallstones can be as tiny as grains of sand or as large as golf balls. You may develop one or several gallstones at a time.
While many people have gallstones and never experience symptoms, if your gallstones block the passages of the bile duct to your intestine, it can cause swelling and pain. The pain is usually sudden and intense and may also cause vomiting or nausea. If left untreated, the swelling can lead to inflammation, infection, and in severe cases, gangrene.
The exact reason you develop gallstones isn’t clear. However, there are three potential causes.
Your bile includes chemicals that can break down cholesterol, but when your cholesterol levels are too high, your bile can’t keep up. The excess cholesterol can solidify into crystals and develop into stones.
Bilirubin is a chemical produced when your body breaks down red blood cells. However, certain conditions such as liver cirrhosis and biliary tract infections spur your liver to make extra bilirubin, which is linked to gallstones.
If your gallbladder doesn’t empty completely or if it doesn’t release bile into your intestine at regular intervals, the bile can thicken and turn sludge-like, which can also lead to gallstones.
Your risk of developing gallstones increases if you are:
In most cases, if gallstones cause pain and other symptoms, surgery is the best treatment. Dr. Chengelis provides minimally invasive laparoscopic gallstone removal surgery. While the operation does require general anesthesia, Dr. Chengelis removes your gallstone through just a few inch-long incisions in your abdomen.
Laparoscopic gallstone surgery usually takes less than an hour, and in most cases, you can go home the same day. You can return to work and most of your regular activities within a week of your surgery and won’t need pain medication stronger than Tylenol or Motrin.
If you have gallstones, call or schedule a consultation online to meet with Dr. Chengelis to discover if laparoscopic gallstone surgery is right for you.