From an interview with
Dr. Matthew Jones, General Surgeon
Pee Dee Surgical Group
Gallstone disease is one of the most common digestive disorders in the United States and leads to significant morbidity, mortality, and health care utilization. McLeod General Surgeon Dr. Matthew Jones explains what causes gallstones and how they are treated.
“So the gallbladder is a little tiny organ that sits right under your right rib cage. It stores bile, which is helpful for digesting fats that you eat. Most commonly, we are gonna see gallstones, and those are caused because, generally, over time, usually with high cholesterol diets, those stones will form larger and larger and larger until, eventually, people start to feel them.
Generally gallbladder problems present in very similar ways; almost always, it’s after you eat something fatty. It tends to be a pain under your right rib cage, and sometimes it goes to your back, sometimes it goes to your right shoulder. Kind of the tip off that you might have a gallbladder problem is a squeeze that causes that pain. Once that squeeze lets up, the pain generally goes away. We do start to get concerned if the pain stays and is constant. That’s kind of a little more indication that you may need surgery sooner, rather than later.
The options are pretty limited in terms of, we either take it out or we don’t. Most people, if they’re hurting that badly, are on the side of let’s just go ahead and take it out. Most patients won’t, notice a difference, having your gallbladder versus not.
Unfortunately, because of the stones already being formed in your gallbladder, a lot of times changing your diet or changing the way you eat really won’t help, because as soon as that stone gets back and squeezes down on it, it’s going to hurt again. So, generally if you’re having pain, you have stones, the recommendation is for the gallbladder to be removed.
Usually two weeks after your operation, I’d say you’re at 80% of what your normal is. Four weeks post-op, you should forget you even had surgery.”
To learn more, speak with a general surgeon near you.