Reasons for Gallbladder Removal

1. Biliary Colic

Intermittent pain in upper abdomen often after eating and occasionally associated with nausea or bloating. The pain is usually short lived "attacks" can be come more intense and frequent. These patients usually have the luxury of meeting with a surgeon and scheduling surgery electively.

2. Acute Inflammation and Cholecystitis

Acute cholecystitis is a situation where there is acute inflammation and irritation of the gallbladder. As the process progresses the gallbladder can begin to die and become gangrenous and eventually perforate or rupture. The pain is usually severe enough to seek out medical attention. Often times these patients are first seen by a surgeon in the emergency room. Surgery is often urgent or emergent

3. Gallbladder Polyps

Although gallbladder polyps are usually benign (non-cancerous), they may turn into cancer similar to colon polyps. Age greater than 50 and size of the polyp greater than one centimeter are usually associated with an increased chance of polyps turning into cancer. These can often be followed with ultrasound every 4 to 6 months but occasionally have to be removed.

4. Biliary Dyskinesia (Dysfunction of the Gallbladder)

Often patients with upper abdominal pain will have a sonogram or ultrasound to see if they have gallstones. If no stones are seen in the gallbladder and the pain persists, a second test can be performed to evaluate the gallbladder's ability to squeeze out bile - a digestive enzyme. If this test is abnormal, removal of the gallbladder usually takes away these signs and symptoms.

5. Biliary Pancreatitis

Biliary Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and can occur from a gallstone popping out of the gallbladder and entering the bile duct. This can cause blockage of the duct and back pressure leading to inflammation of the pancreas. This is a common cause of pancreatitis. Removal of the gallbladder can prevent a recurrent problem.