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Gallstones Without Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed - Topic Overview

Experts disagree about whether the gallbladder should be removed for gallstones that do not cause symptoms. Surgery may be needed if you have:

Doctors sometimes recommend surgery for women who are trying to get pregnant. This may be true for a woman who has had symptoms in the past that are believed to be caused by gallstones, and the woman and her doctor are concerned that her symptoms may get worse during pregnancy. They may choose to do surgery to prevent any possible complications, especially if the woman's pregnancy is likely to be high-risk because of other problems.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Ruptured Spleen

The spleen is a delicate, fist-sized organ under your left rib cage near your stomach. It contains special white blood cells that destroy bacteria and help your body fight infections. The spleen also makes red blood cells and helps remove, or filter, old ones from the body's circulation. A layer of tissue entirely covers the spleen in a capsule-like fashion, except where veins and arteries enter the organ. This tissue, called the splenic capsule, helps protect the spleen from direct injury.

Read the Ruptured Spleen article > >

Most doctors do not recommend that people with diabetes have surgery for gallstones that do not cause symptoms. The risk of surgery in people who have diabetes may be higher than the risk of a gallstone attack. Surgery is recommended after the first occurrence of symptoms.

The gallbladder may be removed during bariatric surgery, even in people who haven't had a problem with gallstones.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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