A gallstone is a lump of hard material ranging in size from a grain of sand to about 4 centimeters. You form gallstones because of abnormalities with your cholesterol and bile salts from the bile produced by the liver.
If your liver produces bile with too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or inadequate amounts of bile salts, gallstones tend to develop. Risk factors for gallstones include:
Gallstones don’t always present with symptoms, but when they do, you may experience serious pain that’s similar to what you feel when having a heart attack, appendicitis, or ulcers. Some symptoms to watch for include:
Dr. Rincon and his team perform an ultrasound to accurately diagnose gallstones. He may also recommend a CT scan and blood tests. In some cases, a test called an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is necessary. During an ERCP, you swallow an endoscope -- a long, flexible, lighted tube connected to a computer and TV monitor -- that Dr. Rincon guides through the stomach and into the small intestine. He then injects a special dye that temporarily stains the ducts in the biliary system so he can locate and remove stones in the ducts.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common way to treat symptomatic gallstones. Dr. Rincon most commonly performs an operation called laparoscopic cholecystectomy, during which he makes several tiny incisions in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments and a miniature video camera into the abdomen.
The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor, giving the Dr. Rincon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. While watching the monitor, the surgeon uses the instruments to carefully separate the gallbladder from the liver, bile ducts, and other structures.
If the stones are located in the ducts, he’ll use the ERCP procedure to remove them.
If you have troublesome gallstones, trust Dr. Rincon to perform your gallbladder surgery. Call the office or use the online booking agent to set up a consultation.