A gallstone, is a lump of hard material usually range in size from a grain of sand to 3-4 cms. They are formed inside the gallbladder formed as a result of precipitation of cholesterol and bile salts from the bile.
Types of gallstones and causes:
- Cholesterol stones
- Pigment stones
- Mixed stones – the most common type. They are comprised of cholesterol and salts.
Cholesterol stones are usually yellow-green and are made primarily of hardened cholesterol. They account for about 80 percent of gallstones. Scientists believe cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts, or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should for some other reason.
Pigment stones are small, dark stones made of bilirubin. The exact cause is not known. They tend to develop in people who have cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia in which too much bilirubin is formed.
Other causes are related to excess excretion of cholesterol by liver through bile. They include the following:
- Women between 20 and 60 years of age are twice as likely to develop gallstones as men.
- Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women.
Gallstones can often cause pain and discomfort and may lead to serious health issues. If your Gallstones are affecting your Gallbladder function, removal of the Gallbladder is often recommended. This is usually performed laparoscopically and an overnight stay in hospital is recommended.
Please talk to our Surgeons about this operation and they can inform you more fully about the risks and benefits of this type of surgery.