Bile duct stones can occur years after the gallbladder is removed.
It is rare, but it is possible to get gallstones after gallbladder surgery. Gallstones found after gallbladder surgery are usually remnants of a gallbladder, but have not been found and removed by the surgeon. In some cases, gallstones form in the bile duct, which is normally connected to the patient’s gallbladder. Unusual amounts of pain after surgery can be a sign of a serious problem, and a medical professional should be alerted. In general, however, gallbladder removal is a safe and highly effective surgery that usually prevents gallstones and related pain from returning.
It is possible for the surgeon to miss a gallstone during gallbladder surgery.
Patients who continue to have problems related to gallbladder removal or surgery experience post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS). PCS is relatively common and refers to any negative side effects of gallbladder removal. The doctor can help identify the cause and administer treatment.
Gallstones after gallbladder surgery are uncommon, but sometimes the surgeon misses a stone during surgery. This solitary stone can continue to cause unpleasant symptoms in the patient until it is removed. In some cases, a part of the gallbladder is left in the patient, along with a missing stone. It is generally safe to leave part of the gallbladder inside a patient, but only if it is stone-free and relatively small.
One healthy gallbladder and one with gallstones.
When a person continues to have gallstones after gallbladder surgery, gallstones are one of the first potential problems explored. Gallbladder stones can occur months or even years after the gallbladder is removed. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is often used to remove these stones without surgery, which involves the patient swallowing an endoscope with a light attached. Even with this minimally invasive cure, the patient is often asked to stay overnight in a hospital for observation.
Patients who have not had their gallbladder removed are at risk of getting gallstones after surgery.
Unusual pain in the stomach area should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. A person should not be assumed to have gallstones after gallbladder surgery. Pain can indicate potentially dangerous effects of surgery, for example, damage to a vital organ. Infection and internal bleeding are also possible, but these complications of gallbladder removal are rare.
An ultrasound can be used to investigate gallbladder problems.
The gallbladder is not a vital organ, unlike the lungs, heart and kidneys. It can be removed with minor consequences; for example, some people who have gallbladder surgery have diarrhea after eating certain types of food. Additionally, surgeons can often perform keyhole surgery, meaning they operate through a small hole rather than opening the patient wider. Patients feel less pain and heal faster when this type of surgery is used. After recovery, most people no longer have problems with gallbladder stones.