“A gallstone is essentially a cholesterol deposit that’s precipitated or crystallized into a stone. Gallstones are very common,” says Dr. Malachi McCurdy with Washington Regional General Surgery Clinic.

Nearly 20% of people in the U.S have gallstones. Common symptoms typically occur in the right upper abdomen with pain radiating to the back. Symptoms are often associated with food. Symptoms usually occur 30 to 60 minutes after eating higher fatty foods, such as pizza.

“The pain can be associated with nausea. Sometimes patients can even have vomiting and the pain usually will resolve but can come and go,” says Dr. McCurdy. Non-surgical treatments include lifestyle modifications, weight loss, and avoiding fatty foods. “But surgery remains the best option for those patients because their likelihood of continuing to have symptoms is very high”, adds Dr. McCurdy.

Washington Regional’s General Surgery Clinic is well versed in removing gallbladders via minimally invasive surgery, either laparoscopically or robotically, through very small incisions. The surgery is a same day procedure, with surgery time ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, allowing patients being able to go home afterwards.