Gallstones very commonly require treatment with an operation. Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) was the first, and is still the most common Laparoscopic general surgical operation.
People diagnosed with gallstones do not always need an operation, however if gallstones are causing pain or liver problems they are best removed. The risk of having problems from gallstones once you have developed them is greater than 2% per year and once problems occur they tend to persist.
There is no current medically recognised treatment for symptomatic gallstones in the gallbladder other than gallbladder removal (Cholecystectomy), and only patients who are too unwell for surgery would be advised not to go ahead with this.
Gallstones can cause a number of complications such as Pancreatitis, Jaundice and infections. These are usually treated as an emergency and therefore have more risks than planned or elective treatments. So for most patients the likelihood of complications from their gallstones is higher than the risk of complications from having their gallstones removed.
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