Does size and number matter?
While a single large stone can cause lot of problems, small stones can cause more severe problems as they are more likely to move into the bile duct. Some might have ‘gravel’ which is often described as ‘sludge’ on ultrasound scan reports, and some might have very small stones (microlithiasis) that are not visible on regular ultrasound scans and may need specialised scans to detect them.
What are the symptoms?
Gallstones may not be causing any symptoms and may be found by chance on a scan that was performed for an entirely different reason.
Gallstones can also give you a number of symptoms.
- Pain (biliary colic)
- Gallbladder infection (cholecystitis)
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Jaundice with dark urine and pale stools (obstructive jaundice)
- Infection of the liver (cholangitis)
What is the treatment?
Gallstones that are not causing any symptoms don’t need any treatment. But if they start giving symptoms, an operation to remove the gallbladder is required.
A gastric sleeve surgery is a restrictive procedure where the size of your stomach is reduced therefore limiting the amount of food you can eat which will help towards weight loss.
A gastric band involves dividing your stomach into two by placing a silicone band around the stomach therefore creating a small pouch at the top of your stomach (roughly the size of a golf ball).
In the UK, the most common gastric bypass surgery is a combination of restrictive and malabsorptive procedure procedures called Roux-en-Y (RYGB) which creates a two-way weight reducing effect.