Gallstone Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed

Topic Overview

Several conditions or situations may require surgery to remove the gallbladder. Surgery usually is needed when:

  • Your gallbladder suddenly becomes inflamed or infected (cholecystitis).
  • Gallstones cause repeated attacks of pain.
  • You have growths called polyps in the gallbladder, usually larger than 1 cm (0.4 in.), that are causing symptoms.
  • Gallstones cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • A non-functioning gallbladder is causing symptoms.
  • The gallbladder wall has calcified (porcelain gallbladder).
  • You have gallstones and an impaired immune system.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD, FACP, FACG - Gastroenterology

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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