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8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

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Old 08-30-2006, 01:06 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
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sierramist HB User
8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

Since there seem to be so many gallbladder experts on this board, I thought I would see what you thought.

I just happened to have an x-ray done 2 weeks ago for a lower back ache that I have been having for months. Well, my spine looked fine, but they saw about 8 gallstones on the x-ray!! I was shocked! So then I had an ultrasound and today I met with a surgeon expecting to set up a surgery appointment. No!! He said since I have no painful symptoms, that I could be just fine the rest of my life with these gallstones! I think he said 30% of people around the world have gallstones and don't even know it!!?? I had never heard of that before.

I have had a tightness feeling right where my gallbladder is for about 10 years. I notice it more now, but it is not painful and is usually later at night when I notice it the most. Dr. said that was probably the gallbladder that I am feeling, but the back ache probably is not. I don't know what to think. I should be so excited that I don't have to have surgery, but I am paranoid about what I eat now. We are supposed to be going to Disney World Oct. 12 and all I can think about is something happening down there.

Have any of you had your gallbladder removed with little or no symptoms?? Not sure what I should do....

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Old 08-30-2006, 06:01 AM   #2
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Location: Pensacola Florida USA
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pbjmom HB User
Re: 8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

Good Morning SierraMist!

Wow! 8 gallstones. That is impressive!!

Seriously, though, I hope I can give you my opinion on gallbladder stones/surgery. First off, go see another doctor for a second opinion. I am by no means advocating surgery, just want you to see all your options. Talk to a Gastro doc. He/she may say something else. You also may want to ask for a HIDA scan. That is to test for your gallbladder ejection rate (rate at which your gallbladder ejects and functions). Many say anything below 40% ejection rate is too low for the gb and should be removed.

I found my gallstones (2 or 3 large ones) during an emergency appendectomy three years ago. They only took the appendix (gangrenous) so to remove the gb at that time was too much for my body. The surgeon said to have the gb removed IF I became symptomatic. I moved two years later and the first thing my Gen Doc asked was "When do you want to have surgery for your GB?" I was stunned, but said only if I become symptomatic. he said fine....well, less than one year later I was fully symptomatic and had it done. I am recovering very well and do not live in the nausea and pain I did before. Nausea was my biggest symptom that I had no idea was was!! The pains started and finally had to go the ER.

Again, I am not saying go for surgery, but go to a GI doc. A lot will depend on the size of the stones. They will never get smaller and if one exits the gb it can cause a lot of pain. Mine were so large they could not leave the gb, but one did move and blocked the duct opening causing the constant pain.

I know my story may alarm you and I don't mean to do that. I just wanted to share with you what my course was and how it was for me. Would I go back and have the surgery in a more elective way then waiting for attacks?...probably yes. I refused to have surgery when it was not a necessity. Can you go through life with gallstones and be fine?...yes, but if you are having pains in that area already I would most definitely go talk to someone other that a surgeon and get another opinion. See a GI doc.

As to eating at Disney! I would avoid high fat/greasey food. Which will be tough at Disney, but is possible.

Good Luck and look around on the boards. There is a ton of info and opinions from others.

Old 08-30-2006, 10:09 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Swansboro, NC, USA
Posts: 51
quenterry0 HB User
Lightbulb Re: 8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

I'm not positive but I don't think you can have a HIDA scan done with known gallstones...I know when I went for my HIDA scan the doc wouldn't even inject me until he got the results back from my ultrasound. He said if I did have gallstones and he injected me then it would be VERY painful!

I would definatly consider surgery - I would hate to see you get rushed into the ER and have emergency surgery if/when the stones decide to move. I would think its better to take it out now than wait until you're in severe pain!

Good Luck

Old 08-30-2006, 06:21 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
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sierramist HB User
Re: 8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

Thanks for your replies. Wouldn't you think a surgeon would want me to have surgery? I was surprised.

Sometimes I really want to have the surgery, and then sometimes I am so excited that I don't HAVE to have it. BUT--I keep thinking my Disney World trip is somehow going to be ruined by this. We will see....I'm sure I will be on here asking more questions if I decide to go see another dr.

Do you think 8 gallstones is a lot??

Old 08-30-2006, 08:19 PM   #5
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Re: 8 gallstones & Dr. doesn't want to do surgery??

Yes, that's a lot of gallstones!

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