Do Gallstones Always Demand Surgery?

The chronic pain and discomfort associated with gallstones and gallstone pancreatitis often drives people into emergency rooms or their doctors’ offices seeking help. For many of these people, a simple surgical procedure will be recommended to address concerns related to gallstones once and for all.

While addressing the sometimes-severe pain of gallstones is often a priority, some people may find their symptoms aren’t quite so serious. When that is the case, they may wonder if surgery is absolutely necessary. Researchers have found that it may not always be 100-percent necessary to undergo surgery if symptoms of gallstone pancreatitis don’t warrant intervention.

Gallstone pancreatitis arises when a gallstone or gallstones manage to become lodged in a duct that leads to the pancreas. This may block pancreatic enzymes from leaving the pancreas and assisting with digestion. As the enzymes back up into the pancreas, they may create inflammation and pain. The standard intervention in this case is to remove the gallbladder entirely.

Researchers interested in seeing if the surgery was always necessary with gallstone pancreatitis looked into the cases of more than 17,000 people with gallstone pancreatitis. Nearly 80 percent of the patients had their gallbladders removed. Roughly 2,500 patients did not have their gallbladders removed over the course of a four-year period. These patients were reportedly doing okay that far down the road without major recurrence concerns.

The bottom line, researchers say, is that some people may fare well without surgery. Further study is needed to understand why that is the case and when avoidance of surgery might be advisable. In the meantime, people who are diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis are urged to work closely with their doctors to find the right treatment for their case. Most commonly, surgery to remove the gallbladder will be recommended to prevent recurrences and further complications.

 

 

Stomach Surgery in Dallas: How to Explore the Options

Whether there’s a need to repair a hernia, remove a gallbladder or address obesity through a bariatric surgery, finding the right doctor is important. While many surgeons offer these services, it can provide peace of mind to work directly with a physician who specializes in abdominal procedures.

Finding the right doctor to perform stomach surgery in Dallas is both an objective and subjective pursuit. Here are some things to consider when making a final choice for someone to perform hernia repair or another abdominal procedure:

• Experience and expertise – Look into a surgeon’s background, level of experience and the type of procedures he or she typically performs. Those who specialize strictly in stomach surgery in Dallas are likely to have a great deal more experience in procedures like gallbladder removal and bariatric surgery.

• Techniques used – For people who require stomach surgery in Dallas to remove a gallbladder or repair a hernia, this can be an important question to answer. These procedures can now be performed in a less invasive manner using laparoscopic techniques. When this type of surgery is indicated and a surgeon is skilled in its use, the benefits to patients are well worth exploring.

• Bedside manner – This is where the subjective part of the search comes in. If a procedure is considered an emergency, like repairing a strangulated hernia, the point will be moot. Should time be afforded, however, it’s often best to work with a surgeon that a patient feels comfortable with. This can be important, for example, if bariatric surgery is being considered. Patients should feel like their surgeons have their best interest at heart, provide them the information they need to make informed decisions and will provide necessary support before and after a procedure is performed.

Stomach surgery in Dallas offers patients with a lot of options for choosing the right physician to handle their case. Taking a little time to explore the possibilities can provide people with peace of mind as they work to address concerns like hernias, gallbladder complaints or obesity.

Gallstones: Can They Be Ignored?

The gallbladder is a tiny part of the body most people never think twice about. After all, when it does its job, there’s really no reason to consider it. This little sac is designed to store and release bile into the body during the digestive process. It is essentially tasked with making the digestion of fats flow a little more smoothly. When it performs as expected, the gallbladder is easy to ignore. If something goes wrong, however, discomfort and pain are likely.

Gallstones are the most common gallbladder-related concern that can arise. These form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. Essentially, excess cholesterol promotes the formation of crystals that clump together to create the stones. If left unchecked, the stones can impede the flow of bile and cause a fair amount of pain in the process. Bouts of pain are known as gallbladder attacks. Other complications may arise, as well. As bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder thanks to those gallstones, it can lead to inflammation, which can cause a host of other problems.

Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms or interfere with digestion are generally not a cause for action. If symptoms, such as pain, vomiting and nausea occur, doctors will generally recommend the removal of the gallbladder itself. This involves a surgical procedure that is generally performed laparoscopically. Once the gallbladder is out of the body, the pain associated with attacks should go away. The good news is that people can lead long, healthy lives without a gallbladder.

Gallstones are not a reason for alarm. If they form without symptoms, it is generally okay to leave them in place. Should pain, discomfort or inflammation go along with their arrival, medical intervention is a wise choice to prevent complications.

People who suspect they have gallbladder-related pain should speak with a healthcare provider. The best recommendation will come from a physician with information about the particular case.

Tips For Avoiding Gallstones and Gallbladder Issues

Anyone who has suffered from gallstones knows this is a condition that’s best avoided, if possible. Quite painful and often only resolved through surgical intervention, this potential development can sometimes be prevented or treated through calculated lifestyle changes.

The gallbladder itself is a small storage sac in the body that stores bile made by the liver. When food is consumed, bile is injected into the small intestine to help break up fat. When the components of bile manage to solidify, they form stones that can vary in size and severity. In some cases, gallstones may be treated without surgical intervention. Oftentimes, however, a removal of the gallbladder is required to alleviate pain and recurrence issues.

There are lifestyle changes that may help prevent gallstones and assist in the treatment process should they develop. Some of the suggestions include:

• Eating a healthy diet – A healthy, well-balanced diet that is high in fiber and vitamin C can be especially helpful. Be mindful of vitamin C overuse, however, as it can increase the risk of kidney stones – an equally painful development.
• Drinking coffee – A number of studies have found that drinking coffee on a regular basis, at least for women, can reduce the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol – Some studies have suggested that drinking no more than two standard drinks a day can help lower the risk of gallbladder disease.
• Avoiding rapid weight loss – While obesity is also a risk factor, fast weight loss can increase the risk of gallstone formation. If weight loss is necessary, be sure to take a steady, healthy approach and don’t eliminate fat from the diet entirely.

Gallstones may not always be avoidable. If this condition is a concern, be sure to speak with a qualified healthcare provider. Courtesy of advanced surgical techniques, having the gallbladder removed when it is necessary, generally only involves a fairly simple procedure.

Tips for Avoiding Pain After Gallbladder Surgery

For those who suffer from chronic gallbladder problems, such as inflammation or stones, removal of this non-vital organ is often very much vital. Life without a gallbladder can go on as normal, to be sure, but sometimes digestive issues crop up. About half of people who have their gallbladder removed complain of digestive discomforts, bloating and gas after surgery. This is simply because they may have issues digesting fat as efficiently as they once did.

These tips can help reduce or eliminate post-surgical problems with digestion and keep discomfort at a minimal level:

• Start out slowly – In the first few days after surgery, eat a light, clear diet. Gelatins and broths are best. Slowly add mild solid foods back into the diet after that and gauge the body’s reaction to them.
• Low-fat makes sense – Smaller food portions and low-fat choices are often best following surgery. The need to skip French fries might not last forever, but it is highly recommended as the body adjusts to the new normal. Smaller portions can help keep bloating issues to a minimum, as well.
• Steer clear of fatty foods – Some of the items that are best to avoid include those fries, pizza, gravies made from meat drippings, high fat-meats, fat rich dairy, chocolate, cream-based foods and certain oils, such as palm. Spicy foods can be an issue as well.
• Take care with high-fiber foods – It’s best to be very careful and slow about reintroducing high-fiber foods into the diet. Foods such as whole-grain breads, nuts, broccoli and cabbage may put an extra strain on the digestive system and lead to diarrhea, bloating and cramps. Go slow and watch reactions before adding these items back into the routine on a regular basis.

Living life without a gallbladder to aid in digestion can take some getting used to. Be sure to take it slow after surgery and watch for foods that cause discomfort. Cut these out for a time and reintroduce later to see if the status quo changes. For more dietary advice, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider.

How GERD and Acid Reflux Are Treated

People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux will find that treatment options do exist to help them enjoy life normally without concerns for nagging, uncomfortable and often painful symptoms. While the best treatment option will depend on the particular case in hand, the goal of most is to reduce painful symptoms while also preventing long-term damage acid can dole out to the digestive system, especially the esophagus.

There are three main treatment options doctors have at their disposal to assist those with acid reflux or GERD. They are:

• Medications – Prescription medication can be useful for relieving heartburn symptoms while helping prevent damage caused by stomach acid. These medications are often found over the counter, but there are prescription strength antacids and other medications that may also assist. Some people find that medication controls their symptoms without a need for further treatment. Some medications may be used symptomatically, but others are prescribed for daily use indefinitely.
• Surgery –The most common surgery for GERD is called a fundoplication. This involves wrapping the top part of the stomach around the very bottom of the esophagus to strengthen the muscle that closes the esophagus to keep food and acid from backing up. The surgery is typically performed using a laparoscopic technique, but open surgery may sometimes be required.
• Endoscopic treatments – These are similar to surgery, but they are not called such since incisions are not required. Endoscopic treatments are relatively new, but involve the strengthening of the muscle as in the case in a full surgical procedure.

The best treatment for GERD or acid reflux will depend on the particular case in hand and the severity. To find out more about the options, be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare provider. Surgical options are generally only indicated when side-effects are worrisome or other treatments, such as medication and lifestyle changes have proven to not be effective.

Abdominal Surgery: What to Expect During Your Hospital Stay

It’s a simple fact that most people just don’t enjoying spending a second longer in the hospital than they have to. After all, hospitals can be rather scary places. If you’re having abdominal surgery to remove a gallbladder, repair a hernia or treat a potential cause of acid reflux, hospitalization might be necessary. Understanding what to expect, however, can make the experience a whole lot less frightening.

Your hospital experience will depend a great deal on the type of surgery you’re having. If, for example, a laparoscopic procedure is indicated, you’ll discover your time in a facility is rather short. For those undergoing more complex procedures, the stay could be longer and more involved.

In either case, however, patients can expect a few things in common during their stays for abdominal surgery no matter its nature:

•    Before surgery – When you check in for surgery, your nursing staff will typically have you change into a gown, take your vitals, weigh you in and perform other routine tasks. You’ll likely be asked to refrain from eating or drinking as the time for the procedure draws near. Medication may be given to help calm your nerves and prepare you for the operation.
•    Surgery – Once you’re wheeled into the operating room, your nursing staff will make sure you are as comfortable as possible. The area for the surgery will be cleaned and you’ll likely be put under for the duration.
•    Post-op – Once the surgery is over, nurses will once again take over, checking your vitals and watching for any complications as you wake up from the procedure. Once you’re back in a room, nurses will continue to monitor your vitals while also asking you to change positions, cough and breathe deeply and perhaps perform a few other exercises to keep your lungs clear and promote healing. The length of time in the hospital,  however, will depend on the surgery you’ve had performed. For laparoscopic procedures, the stay is generally a single night.
•    Before you go home – Your doctor and/or nursing staff will provide you with care instructions and make sure you are ready to be on your own. Follow all instructions closely and don’t be afraid to call your doctor’s office if any concerns arise.

To find out more about what to expect during your hospital stay, speak directly with your doctor. He or she can offer insights on any particulars related to your procedure and help ensure you know what to expect while setting your mind at ease.