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Diagnosed with solitary gallstone. Always travelling. Is there a possibility of developing more stones?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5761 Questions
Im diagnosed with 18 mm solitary gallstone.. I have no symptoms at all.. I travel a lot and im afraid that i can symptoms during my travel as i have insurance only in my county. Is the pain torelanble when it comes? I mean can i wait days with pain killers untill i do the operation? Should i do the operation now or just wait for symptoms to come first?.. Does the symptoms always come? Would for sure i develop more stones? Plz advise me
Posted Sat, 7 Sep 2013 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
You can wait, no urgent surgery is necessary.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for the query.

You should not be worried. Nothing has changed since the diagnose. You are still the same and so is your gallbladder. Please note that this stone is with you for a long time, years most likely. Stone creation is a slow process. And until now, there was no pain so why it should appear in a few days? Ultrasound does not make the pain attack more possible. The only difference is that now you know about the stone.

Try to imagine that lots of people have gallstones and they do not know about it. They have also no symptoms at all.

So answering your questions:
- most of the stones are painless
- you can wait days or even months with this stone (remember, its been there for some time already and nothing has happen)
- if you will eliminate the factor which causes the stones (fatty diet most likely), no more stones should appear

To do not trigger possible pain attack you should: avoid fatty foods, fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol, coffee. Mild diet is advisable.

In case of pain (which is usually not life threatening), Buscolizin, Metamizole should be helpful.

When you get back to your country, please consult general surgeon and get scheduled for surgery.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with solitary gallstone. Always travelling. Is there a possibility of developing more stones? 6 minutes later
Thank you very much doctor.. This really helped.. Just one more question.. If the pain comes to me, should i do the operation urgently in the same day or i can wait with pain killers and do it in few days..? It the pain tolerable? Cuz i XXXXXXX want to do it outside my country.. Here in my country i can do it directly whenever the symptoms come.. But if the symptoms come when im on travel i should come back to my country.. I hope u understood my question.. Thanks a lot againt
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 15 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Urgent surgery is an ultimate solution.

Detailed Answer:
The main problem with the gallstone is that it can in some cases obstruct bile ducts or cause acute pancreatitis. This conditions needs urgent action (however its not the surgery but gastroscopy with ERCP procedure). But this does happen in case of really small stones (few millimeters). Yours is quite large so it wont get through bile ducts.
The only danger condition at your case is gallbladder inflammation and pus accumulation. This condition needs few days to develop and apart of pain, fever appears.
So if the pain appears you have some time to react.
- First of all you need to stop eating and get some muscle relaxing pain killers (mentioned before).
- If it wont help in about 12 hours, or the symptoms will get worse, fever will appear, you should visit ER, have an ultrasound and blood work done. You should receive intravenous pain killers which usually help.
- If this wont help, than surgery should be considered.
As you can see, there is plenty of time from the pain to the surgery and very often it is not necessary right away.

Gallstones pain can be mild, like typical stomach pain. In some cases (if the stone stuck in the gallstone so it can not move) the pain can be really strong and can force the patient to visit hospital right away.

Because of all mentioned possible complications, you should schedule the surgery in your country before any pain will appear. Waiting for the pain is pointless.

It is very hard to predict what will happen when the pain will appear during travel. That is why, it is reasonable not to travel with stones.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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