Gallstones are fairly common. If you walk down Guildford High Street 1 in 10 people have gallstones and probably do not know about it. These are usually diagnosed after some symptoms such as pain and occasionally incidentally on an ultrasound scan of the abdomen.
Gallstones can cause pain, infection, jaundice and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) if left alone. Unfortunately, there are only two options with gallstones. They are left alone or you have an operation to remove the gallbladder. If you had some symptoms due to the gallstones then you have a 1 in 2 chance of recurrent symptoms within a year.
The operation is done key hole with 4 small scratches and the majority of cases are as a daycase. There are risks with all operations but these are infrequent. The main thing is there is a 1 in 700 chance of damaging the duct the drains the liver but is unusual. Mr Sultan has not converted to an open operation for over 4 years.
You can live well without your gallbladder. A small proportion of patients can get diarrhoea, chronic pain or persistent symptoms if the gallstones are not the cause of the symptoms which can be difficult sometimes to clarify.