The presence of gallstone inside the gallbladder understandably leaves the people who have been diagnosed worried and confused. The worry is because they think why they got it in the first place. The confusion is, should they get their gallbladder with the gallstones removed surgically. I have an experience of dealing with a patient who was a physician himself who postponed the gallbladder removal surgery for many years and the resulting consequences he faced.
A brief of why gallbladder removal surgery is required
Whenever people are diagnosed with gallstones in the gallbladder, they have no options but to remove the gallbladder entirely. The stones can cause ulcer like symptoms which is resistant to treatment. Secondly it can cause infection of the gallbladder called cholecystitis. Third, the stones might increase in number or become bigger and can cause trouble.
The smaller the stones, more is the danger posed. The smaller stones can slip from the gallbladder and can travel down the duct and obstruct the outflow of bile causing surgical jaundice. Sometimes the gallstones can travel further down and obstruct the pancreatic duct too and cause pancreatitis.
The Case of the Physician who postponed gallbladder removal surgery
This doctor was a senior physician and was diagnosed with gallstones. His children were also doctors. Once the doctor was diagnosed with the presence of gallstones, all the family members advised him to undergo cholecystectomy, the surgical procedure for removal of gallbladder.
Though laparoscopic surgical procedures have advanced and the gallbladder removal surgery can be performed through this advanced method, the doctor kept postponing the surgery because of fear. He postponed the surgery for well over 15 years. It is a matter of fact that presence of gallstone can become critical at any stage. Suddenly the doctor developed acute pain and fever, and he was rushed to the hospital. I attended to him and was quite surprised to learn that he has been postponing the surgery for well over 15 years.
By this time, the doctor was 70 years old and had diabetes and other heart ailments. He developed complications of gallstones and had to immediately undergo surgery. But since he was suffering from pancreatitis with jaundice, the treatment became cumbersome and we had to follow certain protocols before the gallbladder removal surgery could be performed. And finally I performed three surgeries step by step and remove the gallbladder finally.
What could have been a 2 days hospital stay if the doctor would have got his gallbladder surgically removed turned out to be an almost one month stay as he had to be monitored constantly because his condition became critical.
Conclusion – My sincere advice to all those who have been diagnosed with gallstones is, “Do not postpone the surgery”. The surgical procedure is absolutely advanced and it is easy on you when you get operated in the early stage.