Bariatric Surgery

Gallbladder Disease can be a Common Issue in Patients with Obesity

Jul 18, 2022

More than 500,000 gallbladder removal procedures are performed each year, making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States today. Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the most common treatment for severe gallbladder disorders.

Morbid obesity is a risk factor for gallbladder disease. Obese patients who require gallbladder and weight loss surgery can minimize complications if they get a gallbladder removal procedure first.

Patients with obesity and symptomatic gallstones should undergo cholecystectomy first before having a gastric bypass.

In a Swedish study, researchers looked into data about patients who underwent gallbladder removal surgery and those who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Some of the patients had one of these procedures, and others had both surgeries either separately or simultaneously.

Among those who underwent both operations, people who opted for weight loss surgery first were more likely to experience complications than the ones who underwent gallbladder removal first.

If a patient’s gallstones don’t show any symptoms, they shouldn’t undergo surgery. This can cause complications for patients who wouldn’t be troubled at all by their gallstones.

The results of the study suggest that patients should always discuss the order of the two surgical procedures with their doctors beforehand. This will help them weigh the benefits and risks of both surgeries.

Gallbladder problems occur due to the presence of small hard masses of bile salts and cholesterol (gallstones) in the bile duct or gallbladder. Gallstones often block bile flow from the gallbladder, causing swelling, pain in the abdomen, fever, indigestion, and vomiting. When they block the bile duct, a patient can have jaundice.

While you can temporarily manage gallstones using drugs or diet, the symptoms may continue until the gallbladder is surgically removed.

Your doctor will assess your symptoms and make a recommendation on the best course of treatment for you.