Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder, a condition that can turn deadly if left untreated. Cholecystitis occurs when the gallstones block the entrance of the gallbladder, resulting in the bile to build up and the gallbladder to become swollen. Most people are familiar with the gallbladder itself, but aren’t sure exactly what it does or where it is located. As a refresher, the gallbladder is a small organ that is similar in shape to a pear. It is located on the right side of the abdomen, directly below the liver. This is an important organ to our overall digestive function, as it is where bile lives, the important digestive fluid that is released into the small intestine. When gallstones form and block the tube leading to the gallbladder, the patient is at risk of developing cholecystitis. Someone with cholecystitis is in need of emergency surgery in order to avoid life-threatening complications, such as a gallbladder rupture. We perform this surgery by single site robotically or laparoscopically.
Gallstones are rock-like deposits of bile that form inside the gallbladder. There are numerous causes of gallstones, but they typically form if a person’s bile has too much cholesterol in it, preventing the gallbladder from emptying properly. In the event one or more gallstones blocks the cystic duct (which is where the bile flows outward from the gallbladder), it could result in bile becoming trapped in the gallbladder. When this happens, the individual is at risk of a bacterial infection, which can lead to inflammation of the gallbladder and cholecystitis.
Surgical Associates of Mansfield always has an emergency surgeon on staff for such patient needs as a cholecystitis. We understand how scary it can be to experience the symptoms of this condition we will go over below, which is why our staff is committed to being here for you. If you or a loved one is in need of emergency surgery to remove an inflamed gallbladder, please give us a call.
Types of Cholecystitis
- Acute cholecystitis
This is the sudden inflammation of the gallbladder that shows up as severe abdominal pain along with nausea, vomiting, and fever, in some patients
- Chronic cholecystitis
This is a less serious version of the condition and is marked by a lower intensity inflammation that lasts a long period of time. Some patients may experience repeated acute attacks of cholecystitis with symptoms such as mild abdominal pain, or no symptoms whatsoever. Patients suffering from chronic cholecystitis will sustain damage to the walls of the gallbladder over time, resulting in a thickened, scarred organ. Eventually the gallbladder will decrease in size and lose its ability to hold and release bile
Symptoms of Cholecystitis
We briefly went over some of the common symptoms of acute cholecystitis above, but let’s take a deeper look:
- Severe pain
Mainly in the center of the upper abdomen, directly below the breastbone, or in the upper right side of the abdomen, near where the liver and gallbladder are located. Some patients eventually experience pain all the way to the right shoulder, typically after eating
- Fever and chills