The gallbladder is an ideal place for the formation of stonesa sluggish pool, a backwater from the main channel of bile flow. Thus the bile is held stationary in one spot and the salts in solution in the bile are liable, under these conditions, to crystallize, with the formation of gallstones.
As in the case of kidney stones, the proper treatment for a case of requires surgical operation. In fact, only a small percentage are in this category.
When small stones begin to wander out from the gallbladder into the bile ducts, causing colic which frequently recurs, it is comforting to think that modern surgery is able to relieve the sufferer promptly and safely. A hundred years ago such a patient would face nothing but a life of almost unendurable torture. Nowadays he can be permanently relieved.
However, in many cases it is unwise to run even the slight risk of .surgical interference. In such cases there is a definite form of medical management which is calculated to make the patient reasonably comfortable
over long periods of time. The most important element in this is a mild saline laxative such as sodium phosphate, in warm water the first thing on getting up in the morning. is prevents stasis in the intestines and ` also’ tends to empty the gallbladder and keep the bile moving, thus preventing further damage.
A non-stimulating diet of vegetables and fruits, milk, cream and eggs, and sufficient fat in the form of butter (which also helps to empty the gallbladder) is next in importance.
In judging the exact condition of the patient with gallstones or gallbladder disease, modern methods have become extremely accurate. In addition to the history of the case, and the condition of the blood, it is possible to judge the functional capacity of the liver, and also by the use of
Graham’s method of dyes and the x-ray, the size and number of stones and the general condition of the gallbladder can be very accurately determined.