Gallstones are a common problem in our society. The gallbladder is an organ and sits below the liver in the upper right side of your abdomen (belly). The gallbladder functions normally to store bile (a green yellow fluid) that is squeezed into your bowel after eating in order to help digest food containing fats / oils. Gallstones can form within the gallbladder, which can cause pain (usually in the upper abdomen or right side of the trunk) if the gall bladder squeezes against the stones. They can also block the gallbladder and create an infection which may become serious. If they pass out of your gallbladder they can cause serious problems of pancreatitis, jaundice or cholangitis (bile duct infection). Sometimes a person does not have gallstones as such, but ‘sludge’ (like mud or sand) or polyps which can also cause the problems that gallstones do. Polyps, depending on size and type, can pose concerns regarding the potential for becoming malignant.
Surgery (called laparoscopic cholecystectomy) is the mainstay of treating gallstones, and involves a keyhole operation and an overnight stay to remove the gallbladder. This is one of the most commonly performed operations by Dr. Le Page.
It can be apparent before surgery that stones have passed out of your gallbladder and become stuck in the bile duct. This can also be identified only incidentally during the surgery itself. If stones have passed out of your gallbladder and become stuck in your bile duct, at the time of removing the gallbladder a highly specialised 3mm telescope (choledochoscope) can be passed by Dr. Le Page to remove these stuck stones, thereby avoiding the need for further complicated procedures after surgery. He audits the outcomes of his patients to ensure the highest standard of care. If you feel a specialist review may be indicated for you, please discuss with your GP and call (02) 9767 7908 to arrange an appointment with Dr. Le Page. Your individual circumstance will be clarified by Dr. Le Page during your review.