Feature Article Hepatology
Gallstones: causes, diagnosis and treatment
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice for symptomatic gallstones. It should also be considered for selected patients with asymptomatic gallstones.
- Gallstones are common in Western populations.
- Risk factors for gallstones include female sex, older age, diabetes and obesity.
- Typical gallstone symptoms include upper abdominal or right upper quadrant pain (biliary colic), bloating and low-grade nausea.
- Complications of gallstones include acute cholecystitis, cholangitis and acute pancreatitis.
- Abdominal ultrasound examination has the highest sensitivity and specificity of any investigation for diagnosing gallstones.
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe, effective treatment for symptomatic gallstones and may be considered for selected patients with asymptomatic gallstones.