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What are some treatments for gallstones?

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Quick Answer

The treatments for gallstones include nonsurgical therapy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, according to WebMD. The treatment for gallstones may only be necessary when the stones result in symptoms, including pain, says Mayo Clinic.

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Nonsurgical therapy for gallstones is suitable for patients who do not want to undergo surgery, as WebMD reports. It includes techniques such as the dissolution of the stones with bile salt, shock wave therapy, and contact dissolution. The bile salt only dissolves stones that form from cholesterol. Shock wave therapy involves breaking down the stones into smaller pieces by use of high-frequency sound waves followed by bile-salt dissolution. As for contact dissolution, the doctor administers a direct injection of a stone-dissolving drug into the gallbladder after which the stones dissolve.

These nonsurgical methods may not be a permanent solution to gallstones because the stones come back in most cases despite the symptom alleviation, says WebMD. Additionally, the shock wave therapy and contact dissolution are still experimental treatments. It is due to these shortcomings that doctors consider laparoscopic cholecystectomy the most effective method of gallstone treatment. It involves the surgical removal of the gallbladder through incisions in the abdomen using pencil-thin instruments.

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