The function of the gallbladder is to store bile that is secreted by the liver. Following a meal, this stored bile is released into the intestine, aiding digestion. Abnormalities of bile composition can lead to the formation of gallstones. Anyone can develop gallstones, but known risk factors include being female, obese and older than 60. In most patients with gallstones, the stones are confined to the gallbladder but sometimes they appear in and block the common bile duct, the tube that transports bile from the gallbladder to the intestine. Learn more about gallstones, their risks and causes.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), our board certified general and gastrointestinal surgeons offer the most innovative and effective treatment for patients with bile duct stones and gallstones, performing the latest and most effective minimally invasive surgical procedures, including laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Surgeons at BWH offer a range of procedures for diagnosing gallstones and bile duct stones:
If gallstones or bile duct stones cause persistent symptoms, surgical treatment may be recommended. Surgeons at BWH are experts in all surgical approaches for gallstones and bile duct stones including traditional and minimally invasive options:
Non-surgical methods for treating gallstones are associated with limited success rates, but may be options for patients who are not surgical candidates:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have gallstones or bile duct stones and determine what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced general and gastrointestinal surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with liver and gallbladder conditions.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with gallstones or bile duct stones. After surgery you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Brigham and Women's Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating gallstones and bile duct stones. In addition, patients have full access to BWH's world-renowned academic medical community with its diverse specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.
Go to our health library to learn more about gallstones and bile duct stones.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
Visit the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation.
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