Jorge L. Rincon, MD, FACS
General Surgeon located in San Antonio, TX
If you need gallbladder surgery, trust board-certified surgeon, Dr. Jorge Rincon, who has more than 20 years of experience treating gallstones for patients in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Call Rincon Surgery or make an appointment using the online booking agent to learn about your options for treating gallstones and resolving gallbladder pain.
Gallbladder Surgery Q & A
What is a gallstone?
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.
Who is at risk of developing gallstones?
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:
- A poorly emptying gallbladder
- Being a woman age 20-60
- Excess estrogen from pregnancy or birth control pills
- Taking cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Rapid weight loss
What are the symptoms of gallstones?
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:
- Abdominal bloating
- Recurring intolerance of fatty foods
- Steady pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
- Pain in the back between the shoulder blades
- Pain under the right shoulder
- Nausea or vomiting
- Indigestion and belching
How are gallstones diagnosed?
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.
What is involved in gallbladder surgery?
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.