GALLBLADDERS & GALLSTONES
To ease symptoms and patient discomfort, Mr Pellen performs keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery for gallstone and gallbladder disease in procedures known as Cholecystectomy, on table Cholangiogram and Bile Duct exploration. Mr Pellen has undertaken published research and specialised training in treating these conditions.
Not all gallstones need treatment. It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults in the UK will develop gallstones, but many people will never have any problems from them. They are often detected on ultrasound scan or occasionally found by accident during other scans. Gallstones without symptoms do not usually require an operation.
However, treatment might be required for recurrent episodes of symptoms such as pain under the ribs, in the shoulder blade on the right side, or, indigestion symptoms that don’t respond to antacids. Complications such as infection of the gallbadder (cholecystitis) or due to stones escaping and becoming trapped elsewhere (jaundice, pancreatitis) may result in severe illness that require hospital admission.
What does the gallbladder do?
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac attached to the liver which stores and concentrates bile made by the liver itself. Bile helps with fat digestion turning it into small droplets that enzymes can more easily digest. It builds up in the gallbladder when you are not eating. When you eat cheese, greasy, fried or battered foods, bile is squeezed out of the gallbladder through the bile ducts into the small intestine. This allows greater amounts of bile to be excreted at mealtimes which then improves digestion efficiency.
How does an operation treat gall stones?
“Cholecystectomy” means removing the gallbladder, along with any stones within it. This prevents stones re-forming, which would happen if the gallbladder was not removed and only stones taken out. You can still digest food without a gallbladder and most patients notice no new symptoms after its removal.
In Mr Pellen’s care, over 99% of cholecystectomies are completed with “laparoscopic” (keyhole) surgery where four small incisions (1cm or less) are made to place access “ports” into the abdomen through which it is temporarily inflated with carbon dioxide to create an accessible space to allow Mr Pellen to operate. A general anaesthetic (fully asleep) is required.