Gallstones

Overview

Gallstones are pebble-like substances that form in the gallbladder, ranging in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. A gallbladder can develop one stone, or hundreds of tiny stones.

Gallstones can block the flow of a digestive fluid called bile through the hepatic ducts, the cystic duct, or the common bile duct. Trapped bile can cause inflammation or infection in the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas.

Some people with gallstones have no symptoms. Symptoms of blocked bile might include pain in the right abdomen, pain in the back between the shoulder blades, or pain under the right shoulder. These are often called a gallbladder attack.

 

Applicable Procedures

ERCP

 

What causes Gallstones?

Gallstones can develop when the liver secretes excess cholesterol, which can form into crystals and eventually gallstones when the bile cannot dissolve it. Gallstones can also form when your bile contains too much bilirubin, which is a substance that is created when the body breaks down red blood cells. Additionally, gallstones can develop when the gallbladder doesn’t empty properly. People with certain risk factors, such as being over age 40, being female, family history of gallstones, pregnancy, and being Mexican or Native American can increase the risk. Other risk factors for gallstones include obesity, lack of exercise, a high-fat diet, lack of fiber in the diet, high cholesterol intake, blood disorders, liver disease, and taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy drugs.

 

Are gallstones dangerous?

There are several complications associated with gallstones. For example, gallstones can become lodged in the neck of the gallbladder, leading to inflammation and a condition called cholecystitis, which leads to severe pain and fever. Gallstones can also block the bile ducts and cause infection, or block the pancreatic duct, leading to pancreatitis, which usually requires treatment in a hospital. While it is rare, gallbladder cancer is also more likely among people with a history of gallstones.

 

How are gallstones treated?

If your gallstones do not cause symptoms or complications, you may not need treatment. On the other hand, if you have complications like a blocked duct, your doctor may remove your gallbladder. Less commonly, medications are used to dissolve gallstones, but they can take years to work. If you have intense abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes, or a high fever, you should seek treatment for gallstone complications.

 

Common Symptoms

  • “I had sudden, intense pain in my stomach, in the upper right area of my abdomen, and it just kept getting worse.”
  • “I was feeling pain right between my shoulder blades, and I began vomiting.”
  • “I quickly developed intense pain in the middle of my stomach right under my breast bone, and it got more intense as time went on.”

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What Our Patients Are Saying

I’ve been a patient of Dr. Weber for almost a decade. My husband for more than & it was he who recommended Dr. Weber. He’s knowledgeable & well experienced in his field. Plus he’s an all around kind & nice guy. And you’d like how the office & tech staff are trained to run the operation of this practice. Efficient, patient and helpful! I’d feel very comfortable recommending this practice.

Vicki M.

I had a great time. Everyone was very friendly and professional. One nurse said I had nice eyes, which really helped my self esteem. Dr. Willie was fantastic. His concern about having magenta ink for the printer really shows what a caring man he is. The pictures turned out great. I framed them and hung them up on my wall at home. But, seriously the experience was pleasant. Thank you to everyone involved.

Terry M.

Lord knows having a colonoscopy is zero fun. The prep nearly did me in. But after arriving at suite 270 every single person was pleasant and efficient. The attention to cleanliness in the office is very apparent and appreciated. Every employee introduced themselves by name, apologized for an IV that took two tries and made sure I was as comfortable as can be before I was ready to leave. However, I’m going to enjoy every minute of the five years before I need to return!

Marie C.

I have been here several times and have always been treated great. The receptionist are so kind and the nurses are wonderful so is the anesthesia person are so kind and answers any concerns you might have. My Dr Bologna is awesome. This is the place to go if you need endoscopy or colonoscopy. Thank all the staff for being so kind

Debbie A.

Our Doctors

We’re proud of our team here at Digestive Health Institute. Our health care providers include some of the very best colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and physician assistants. To learn more about our qualified team of specialists, please visit our providers page.

Anezi E. Bakken MD, MS

Sante D. Bologna MD, FACP

M. Emin Donat MD, FRCPC

Ronald Fogel MDCM, MHSA

Freeha Khan MD

Partha S. Nandi

Leonard G. Quallich III MD

Aditi Saxena MD

Jack Tocco DO

John R. Weber MD

Richard T. Wille MD

FAQs

What happens during my first visit?
If you are a new patient, you can expect to have a complete physical exam. You will also be asked detailed questions about your current problems and your past medical history, your current medications, allergies, your family history and other pertinent medical information. If you are taking medications, please bring a completed medical history form with you to your appointment. Once the physician has reviewed your medical information and completed the physical examination, a plan of care will be developed. You may need to be seen again in the office, be referred back to your family physician for follow-up care, or require additional testing. If additional tests are needed, we will assist you in scheduling these tests.
What if I need to schedule an endoscopic procedure?

An endoscopic procedure allows the physician to visualize a part of your gastrointestinal tract with a special instrument called an endoscope. If your family physician has ordered testing, you will be contacted by telephone by one of our staff members. If a physician orders testing and you are in the office, the procedure can generally be scheduled during the course of your visit. You will be given a date, time, and location for the test, as well as written instructions telling you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions about the procedure, please feel free to ask one of our staff members or the physician.

How do I get test results?

We ask that you wait 10 to 14 days before contacting us for results. Often results come from several different sources. This information needs to be compiled and reviewed by your physician before you can be appropriately advised. 

What insurances do you accept?

We accept payment from most insurance companies including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Physicians Health Plan, Cofinity, Sparrow Professional Health Network, Medicaid, McLaren, Health Plus, and several others. Accepted insurances are subject to change at any time without notice.

If your insurance requires an authorization from your primary care physician, you may be asked to assist us in obtaining this authorization.

All patients are responsible for all copays and deductibles at the time of service.

If you have any questions regarding your benefits or insurance coverage, please contact our Billing Department at 248-844-9710.

What if I need to contact the doctor?

To contact your doctor during business hours please call our main number 248-844-9710. If you have an urgent need to speak with the doctor after hours, you will be rerouted to our after hours answering service, and your doctor will be paged. In the case of a medical emergency please proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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