We should be pretty aware how gallstones are formed and the threat Gallstones produce for the Gallbladder. But not just the Gallstones, the Gallbladder can also be affected by other medical conditions. Some of these gallbladder diseases are really serious requiring emergency assistance. Some can be treated and some are unfortunately fatal. Here are some of the gallbladder diseases other than the gallstones.
Gallbladder Diseases Other than Gallstones
Choledocholithiasis or Common Bile Duct Stone
As the common name indicates, it is the presence of the gallstones in the common bile duct, a narrow tube that transports bile from liver to the small intestine (duodenum). This typically happens when the smaller gallstones (that are notorious) formed inside the gallbladder travels outside and descends into the duct.
This can block the passage of bile and can very well lead to surgical jaundice. Then the bile flow is obstructed completely and can cause infection. The stone can further travel down and block the pancreatic duct also causing pancreatitis. Once the stone descends down, a simple treatment becomes complicated requiring more than 2 procedures. This can cause an emergency situation with a high mortality rate.
In that process, the gallbladder removal (Cholecystectomy), is also performed to prevent future occurrence of gallstones. A procedure called ERCP is done through which common bile duct stone is removed and a stent is placed inside the common bile duct to maintain the free flow of the bile. Hence jaundice comes down. After this gallbladder removal is performed either immediately or after the patient has recovered from this procedure based on the factors like patient’s age, jaundice level.
Gangrene of the Gallbladder
This is one of the gallbladder diseases that happens if the blood flow to the gallbladder stops. Usually it starts with gallbladder getting infected because of gallstones. The severe infection combined with other co-morbid conditions like diabetes, results in gangrene of the gallbladder.
A condition that is relatively rare in occurrence. Since the gallbladder is attached to the liver, the cancer spreads easily to the liver. The removal of gallbladder is the best option to get rid of gallbladder cancer.
Sometimes there is a growth or a lesion that appears like a pimple on the inner walls of the gallbladder. They are normally small and benign causing no harm but sometimes can develop as cancer if the polyps become larger. Usually they are detected using an ultrasound. If several polyps are found in the ultrasound imaging, usually the gallbladder is removed (Cholecystectomy). Sometimes an ultrasound image can show polyps occurring along with gallstones. In this case anyways the gallbladder is removed by laparoscopic surgery.
When the inflammation of the gallbladder occurs surprisingly without the presence of gallstones or without the presence of any duct stones, it is termed as Acalculous Cholecystitis. The condition causes critical illness in patients. This condition may affect patients in ICU, patients with Hepatitis A and rarely on patients with Heart conditions and diabetes. It is believed that gallbladder stasis with co-morbid conditions or the stagnant bile in the gallbladder causes this condition.
Sometimes Gallbladder can act as a Nidus (harbor) for Typhoid bacteria
When a person gets infected with typhoid bacteria, Salmonella species, after the symptoms of typhoid subsides too after treatment, some bacteria colonizes the gallbladder and continues to thrive there. A particular strain of the bacterium called Salmonella Typhimurium was found to be successful in invading the gallbladder and remaining there as a colony. It can inflame the gallbladder and can remain a public health issue through the infected person spreading the disease. Hence the only treatment for this is gallbladder removal surgery (Cholecystectomy).
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.