Over 20 million Americans have gallbladder disease and every year, about 1 million new cases are diagnosed. Gallbladder-related issues can be challenging to diagnose as their symptoms can mimic those of other conditions such as a heart attack.
What’s gallbladder disease?
Gallbladder disease refers to any inflammation, stones, or blockage of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located below the liver. The small organ plays a vital role in the digestive process. It stores and concentrates bile, which helps in digesting fats.
There are several types of gallbladder disease, which includes:
- Tumors of the gallbladder or bile duct
- Sclerosing cholangitis
- Gangrene or abscess
- Growth of tissues in the gallbladder
How to know if you have gallbladder disease?
Symptoms of gallbladder disease may vary from one person to another. However, the most common complaint of those with a gallbladder issue is intermittent pain. Also known as biliary colic, this is a gnawing or steady gripping pain near the rib cage. The pain can get so severe that it can radiate to the upper back. The pain may also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) may cause persistent and more severe pain which can last for days. The pain frequently increases when one draws a breath. This may be accompanied by fever and chills.
If you have gallstones, the pain may be accompanied by other symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine or light stools, rapid heartbeat, and abrupt drop in blood pressure.
The surgeons at Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville regularly perform cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal for patients with gallstones or other gallbladder issues. This is usually done laparoscopically as an outpatient procedure.
Premier Surgical Associates has well-experienced surgeons who have years of experience in doing laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. For initial evaluation, you can request an appointment with one of our surgeons online.