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NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center - Center for Advanced Digestive Care

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form inside the gallbladder. They may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Specialists at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care (CADC) at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center are experienced in diagnosing and treating gallstones. They use a multidisciplinary, novel approach to managing gallstones and tailor treatment to the needs of each patient.

Symptoms of Gallstones

Patients with gallstones that become large enough to block a duct may experience:

  • Abdominal pain (particularly in the upper abdomen)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Fever

To learn more about gallstones, visit our Health Library.

Diagnosing Gallstones

The following tests may be performed by the CADC's Advanced Interventional Endoscopy Team to diagnose gallstones:

  • Imaging tests such as CT scanning and magnetic resonance imaging
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)

For more information about these procedures, visit the Advanced Interventional Endoscopy page.

Gallstone Treatment

Some patients with gallstones have surgery to remove the gallbladder. CADC surgeons use minimally invasive laparoscopy to perform this procedure in most patients, which is associated with a shorter hospital stay, smaller incisions, less blood loss, a quicker recovery, and a faster return to normal activities

ERCP and a procedure called a sphincterotomy (a surgical cut into the muscle in the common bile duct) may be performed to treat gallstones, and in some instances drain the gallbladder. The interventional endoscopists at the CADC also employ "laser lithotripsy" and mechanical lithotripsy to destroy gallstones using a minimally invasive approach during endoscopy.

How can I make an appointment to see an advanced endoscopist?

At the CADC, specialists in gastrointestinal endoscopy, radiology, and surgery work together as an interdisciplinary team to provide each patient with coordinated, advanced, and individualized care. Please contact our Advanced Interventional Endoscopy team to discuss your case.