Doctors may recommend gallbladder surgery when a patient has an inflamed or infected gallbladder; when gallstones lead to repeated, painful attacks; when polyps in the gallbladder cause additional symptoms; when gallstones cause pancreatitis; or when the gallbladder is no longer functioning, notes WebMD. A patient may also need surgery if the wall of his gallbladder has calcified or if he has gallstones in conjunction with an impaired immune system.
Patients with gallbladder problems may need surgery if they develop cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gallbladder that causes pain, swelling and possibly infection, states WebMD. A gallstone stuck in the cystic duct is the most common cause of cholecystitis as it blocks the flow of fluid out of the gallbladder. People with cholecystitis suffer from symptoms such as pain; nausea or vomiting; tenderness of the abdomen; and fever. Doctors may treat cholecystitis with a cholecystectomy, which is removal of the gallbladder.
Doctors may also recommend gallbladder surgery if gallbladder problems lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, according to Mayo Clinic. People with pancreatitis may suffer from symptoms such as abdominal pain that radiates to the back; nausea; tenderness of the abdomen; and weight loss. Pancreatitis can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure, pseudocysts, diabetes, breathing problems and pancreatic cancer. In addition to removing the gallbladder, doctors treating patients with pancreatitis from gallbladder problems may also remove the damaged portion of the pancreas.