People don’t spend much time talking about the gallbladder. This small organ is a storage system of sorts, holding bile that your liver makes until needed for digestion. When it does its job properly, you never notice it. However, when issues arise, it’s impossible to ignore.
Dr. Chad Carlton at LoneStar Bariatrics is passionate about helping people in his care reduce the risk of weight-related health problems. While obesity isn’t always behind gallbladder disease, of the 10-40% of people with issues, 69% are overweight or obese.
In this post, Dr. Carlton explains gallbladder disease and when surgery might be your best option.
The term “gallbladder disease” doesn’t refer to an illness in and of itself. Instead, it describes several issues — like gallstones, inflammation (cholecystitis), polyps, and cancer — that affect this pear-shaped organ under your liver.
When you eat, your gallbladder starts contracting and squeezing, pushing stored bile into the first part of your small intestine. This substance helps break down fats in the food you consume. By the time you finish eating, your gallbladder is empty, like a deflated balloon, waiting for your liver to fill it with bile again.
This digestive process continues seamlessly until a problem comes up. In most cases, it’s a gallstone blocking the flow of bile. When this occurs, gallbladder symptoms can flare up, such as:
Gallbladder disease symptoms can occur periodically or become persistent and severe.
Surgeons remove hundreds of thousands of gallbladders each year, and you can live a long and fulfilling life without this organ. However, that doesn’t mean you need to have it removed if symptoms arise. Instead, Dr. Carlton makes recommendations on a case-by-case basis, given the severity of your symptoms and gallbladder function. He also works closely with his patients to reduce their risk of gallbladder disease before they become serious through weight loss.
As we mentioned above, weight isn’t the sole cause of gallbladder dysfunction, but it happens more often in overweight people, especially women. Experts suspect it’s due to higher levels of cholesterol in the bile, which can lead to gallstone formation.
If you have extra pounds to shed, Dr. Carlton offers nonsurgical and surgical solutions, such as:
When gallbladder disease does require surgery, Dr. Carlton can also help with that. As an experienced surgeon, he uses laparoscopic and robotic-assisted techniques whenever possible. These advanced surgical techniques require smaller incisions, so they come with fewer complications and faster recovery times.
Do you have gallbladder symptoms or weight to lose? Contact LoneStar Bariatrics to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carlton in Plano or Waxahachie, Texas, today.