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

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. Our specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating gallstones and use a multidisciplinary, novel approach to their management.

What symptoms are associated with this condition?

Patients with gallstones that become large enough to block a duct may experience pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and fever.

How are gallstones diagnosed?

The following diagnostic tests may be performed by our 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 about these procedures, visit the Advanced Interventional Endoscopy page.

What treatments are available?

Some patients with gallstones have surgery to remove the gallbladder. Our 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 sooner 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 . Our interventional endoscopists also employ "laser lithotripsy" and mechanical lithotripsy to destroy gallstones using a minimally invasive approach during endoscopy.

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Laser lithotripsy used to destroy a bile duct stone

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

Our specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating gallstones. An interdisciplinary team of gastrointestinal specialists in endoscopy, radiology, and surgery work together as a team to provide each patient with coordinated, advanced, and individualized care. Please contact our Advanced Interventional Endoscopy team to discuss your case.