14 doctors weighed in:
If a person has gallstones that don't dissolve with medication, can the gallstones be surgically removed without removing the gall bladder?
14 doctors weighed in

Dr. Troy Reyna
Surgery - Pediatric
8 doctors agree
In brief: No
The problem with gallstones is the gallbladder. Stones indicate that the gallbladder is diseased and needs to be removed.
It is not the standard of care to just remove gall stones.

In brief: No
The problem with gallstones is the gallbladder. Stones indicate that the gallbladder is diseased and needs to be removed.
It is not the standard of care to just remove gall stones.
Dr. Troy Reyna
Dr. Troy Reyna
Thank
6 doctors agree
In brief: No
In the old days they used to use laser therapy to break up the gallstones similar to kidney stone treatment.
However it was soon discovered that as long as the gallbladder was there to produce the stones, removing just the stones was useless. Since the gallbladder is not an essential organ, definitive treatment for gallstone disease is gallbladder removal.

In brief: No
In the old days they used to use laser therapy to break up the gallstones similar to kidney stone treatment.
However it was soon discovered that as long as the gallbladder was there to produce the stones, removing just the stones was useless. Since the gallbladder is not an essential organ, definitive treatment for gallstone disease is gallbladder removal.
Dr. Michael Zadeh
Dr. Michael Zadeh
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Dr. Barry Rosen
Surgery
5 doctors agree
In brief: Never done.
Theoretically, we can open the gallbladder, remove the stones, and then close the gallbladder, but this is not how gallbladder disease is treated.
The reason we remove the gallbladder is because new stones will form if we don't. Prior to laparoscopic surgery, we experimented with alternative ways to remove stones such as lithotripsy and dissolving agents; they all failed when the stones returned.

In brief: Never done.
Theoretically, we can open the gallbladder, remove the stones, and then close the gallbladder, but this is not how gallbladder disease is treated.
The reason we remove the gallbladder is because new stones will form if we don't. Prior to laparoscopic surgery, we experimented with alternative ways to remove stones such as lithotripsy and dissolving agents; they all failed when the stones returned.
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Barry Rosen
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Dr. Jamie Berkes
Internal Medicine - Hepatology
4 doctors agree
In brief: No
While it is technically possible to remove a gallstone and leave the gallbladder this is not done.
If someone has gallstones requiring surgery, the entire gallbladder should be removed to prevent recurrence. Fortunately, the gallbladder is not an essential organ and people return to normal after removal.

In brief: No
While it is technically possible to remove a gallstone and leave the gallbladder this is not done.
If someone has gallstones requiring surgery, the entire gallbladder should be removed to prevent recurrence. Fortunately, the gallbladder is not an essential organ and people return to normal after removal.
Dr. Jamie Berkes
Dr. Jamie Berkes
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Dr. Vivek Huilgol
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Rarely, yes
Not routinely.
But in very sick patients in the icu, for example, sometimes a drainage tube is inserted though the skin//muscle into the gb to drain it to buy some time until the patient is well enough to have proper surgery. In general the answer is no, however.

In brief: Rarely, yes
Not routinely.
But in very sick patients in the icu, for example, sometimes a drainage tube is inserted though the skin//muscle into the gb to drain it to buy some time until the patient is well enough to have proper surgery. In general the answer is no, however.
Dr. Vivek Huilgol
Dr. Vivek Huilgol
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1 comment
Dr. Barry Rosen
Percutaneous cholecystostomy is an excellent technique for people too ill to tolerate emergency gallbladder surgery; however, this procedure does not remove the gallstones from the gallbladder, it only decompresses the gallbladder when it is obstructed.
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