Helpful Questions & Answers
- When is gallbladder removal unnecessary?
In almost all cases, you do not need open cholecystectomy to remove bile stones from the bile duct. Using the ERCP technique with sphincterotomy, we can eliminate such stones by inserting a fiber-optic tube down the throat to the opening of the common bile duct. An electronic "hot wire" is then passed through the tube to make a tiny cut at the opening of the bile duct, allowing stones to pass into the small intestine. This means no external incisions or scars, and because the procedure is less invasive, patients can expect a quicker recovery time.
Is there a minimally-invasive way to eliminate giant bile duct stones?
The California Digestive Diseases Institute is one of only a few centers in California with the necessary expertise to perform giant stone fragmentation. This minimally-invasive procedure combines ERCP with laser technology to break up giant stones in the common bile duct. The stone fragments are then flushed from the site and passed naturally from the body.
Is traditional gallbladder surgery ever appropriate?
An open cholecystectomy may rarely be indicated when laparoscopic cholecystectomy has failed. Open cholecystectomy removes the gallbladder through a large cut in the abdomen. By contrast, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally-invasive alternative that allows us to remove the gallbladder through three small incisions in the abdomen.
For further information please call 310.556.7747 or e-mail CDDI@olympiamc.com