Diagnosing Gallbladder Disease

gallbladder diseaseThe gallbladder works as a time-release mechanism in the digestive tract, storing bile from the liver needed for digestion; then it releases small amounts into the intestine when needed for breaking down fats. The gallbladder is also one of those organs we can live without, thankfully, since it can be afflicted with many maladies. There are several diagnostic tests that can help pinpoint if the gallbladder is the problem.

Gallbladder symptoms often include:

  • Bouts of severe pain in the right upper abdomen, right chest, or back
  • Pain after eating, especially high-fat foods or at night
  • Fever, with shaking and chills, especially if occurring with, or after, abdominal pain
  • Nausea and perhaps vomiting

To determine if these symptoms might be related to the gallbladder, tests doctors use might include:

  • An ultrasound. This is the most commonly used of the diagnostic tests for gallbladder problems.
  • X-rays. An abdominal X-ray can spot gas and some types of gallstones containing calcium.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan. CT scans can help spot ruptures and infections inside the gallbladder or its bile ducts.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Regular MRI, or another type called magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC), can help diagnose stones in the bile ducts.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). An endoscope is inserted into the throat, down through the stomach, and into the small intestine. This test can help spot gallstones or problems in the bile ducts and allows for removal during the test.
  • Cholescintigraphy (also called DISIDA, HIDA scan, or gallbladder radionuclide scan). A small amount of radioactive dye is administered, and then a scanning device is used to track the dye as it moves into the gallbladder.

If you have been diagnosed with gallbladder disease or are experiencing symptoms you believe are related to it, contact Dr. Johnson for a consultation. He specializes in gallbladder surgery and diagnostic ERCP and will know which tests are right for your particular case.

Read more on line at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/gallbladderdiseases.html#cat5

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