Gallbladder inflammation and surgery

Inflammation of the gallbladder or cholecystis, an inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is located at the base of the liver and can become inflamed. A distinction is made between acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. With acute gallbladder inflammation, pain may occur in the abdomen, which radiates to, for example, the right shoulder. Chronic inflammation sometimes goes unnoticed for a while or is accompanied by vague complaints. Treatment is necessary and does not always have to be surgical.

The gallbladder

The gallbladder is located below the liver. This stores the bile that the liver produces. In the gallbladder the bile is thickened and released into the duodenum. The bile helps digest food. Conditions that can affect the gallbladder include gallstone disease, bile congestion, gallbladder cancer and gallbladder inflammation.

Gallbladder inflammation

A gallbladder infection is often caused by a bacteria that comes from the intestine, the bile ducts or via the bloodstream or lymphatic system, often coliform bacteria. Women between the ages of 30 and 60 are most at risk of developing gallbladder infection. In most cases, inflammation of the gallbladder is the result of gallstone disease. Gallstone disease is also called having gallstones. A gallstone is a stone that is located in the gallbladder or in a duct of the gallbladder. The stone can block the opening of the bladder, causing inflammation. In addition, jaundice sometimes occurs. There are two types of inflammation: the acute and the chronic form.

Acute gallbladder inflammation

An acute inflammation is often caused by a gallstone that blocks the opening. This is how an infection develops. This is more common in overweight people and women. People between the ages of 35 and 55 are at greater risk. Acute gallbladder inflammation is accompanied by severe abdominal pain that worsens within 24 hours. The abdominal pain is located in the upper abdomen and can radiate to the back and to the right shoulder. The patient has a high fever. There is nausea and often vomiting.
Acute gallbladder inflammation is treated by surgically removing the gallbladder. Sometimes this is not immediately possible when there is a high fever. In those cases, antibiotics are first administered to calm the inflammation. The vitreous bladder is removed via normal surgery or keyhole surgery. The advantage of keyhole surgery is that it leaves less of a scar and the patient usually recovers more quickly. Keyhole surgery is not possible if the gallbladder has become too stiff or contains many gallstones that are difficult to reach. Both procedures are performed under anesthesia. Removal of the gallbladder is necessary in case of acute inflammation because there is a good chance that new stones will form and inflammation will arise again. A removed gallbladder has few adverse consequences: the liver takes over the function of the gallbladder. After surgical removal, the patient is prescribed a low-fat diet.

Chronic infection

With chronic inflammation there is no sudden onset of severe pain, but a nagging pain that is continuously present. The pain is palpable in the upper right side of the abdomen. The patient often experiences a feeling of fullness and nausea. It is not always clear that it is a chronic gallbladder infection, but it does follow an acute gallbladder infection. An untreated or improperly treated acute bladder infection can return or remain present for a long time. Chronic inflammation is treated in the same way as the acute form.


In most cases, gallbladder inflammation is the result of gallstones. When gallstones cause a nuisance, we speak of gallstone disease. Gallstones form when the concentration of cholesterol or bilirubin is too high. On the one hand, this can be prevented by ensuring that body weight remains healthy. This means that gallstones are less likely to form and also less likely to cause gallbladder inflammation. Women in particular should pay extra attention to this. Men are generally less likely to suffer from acute or chronic gallbladder inflammation. Gallstones are not always recognizable because they sometimes do not cause any complaints. Larger gallstones mainly cause abdominal pain. This is also called gallstone colic. Gallstones must be removed before they can cause gallbladder inflammation. This saves the gallbladder. This can be done with medications that dissolve the gallstones. In severe cases, the gallbladder, stones and all, must be removed.

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  • Abdominal pain, left and right
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