2 Indications and current treatments
2.1 Gallstones form in the gallbladder from cholesterol or bile pigments: they may be small and multiple, or large and sometimes single. They are more common in women and in people who are obese. Most people with gallstones are asymptomatic but some may develop recurrent symptoms, typically abdominal pain after eating a meal. In some people, gallstones may lead to episodes of acute inflammation of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis) that can cause pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. Other presentations (resulting from displacement of gallbladder stones into the common bile duct) include biliary colic, obstructive jaundice and acute pancreatitis.
2.2 The usual treatment option for symptomatic gallstones is cholecystectomy. This is typically done laparoscopically, using several small incisions in the abdomen, although open surgery through a larger incision is sometimes necessary.