Gallbladder Disease

General Surgery Practice

The gallbladder is a small organ that will fit in the palm of your hand and stores a liquid called bile. When you eat, the gallbladder receives a signal to release the stored bile. The bile flows through a duct and empties into the small intestine to mix with the food you’ve eaten. It helps to absorb the necessary fat that is in the food. The liver, which makes the bile, also stores it and releases it when you eat.

Gallbladder malfunction symptoms range from mild, upper abdominal discomfort, indigestion and nausea after eating, to severe upper abdominal pain that will penetrate into the back near the right shoulder blade. Sometimes the pain can be below the breast bone and seem like a heart attack. The usual cause of the symptoms are gallstones that form inside the gallbladder, and will intermittently interfere with the normal functions of the gallbladder. The severe pain is caused by a gallstone obstructing the neck of the gallbladder (the narrowest portion) where the biles drain out into the bile duct.

Other problems that are caused by gallstones include pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas gland and jaundice. These two problems can occur when gallstones flow out of the gallbladder and lodge in the bile duct that empties the bile into the small intestine.

The treatment for gallbladder disease is surgery. Minimal or laparoscopic surgery is the method of choice. This type of surgery uses a video camera placed through a small incision at the navel, and then three more small incisions are made near the lower edge of the right side of the ribcage. The surgery is then performed by watching the gallbladder on a viewing screen placed above the bedside of the operating table. It is similar to playing a video game in that you make your movements based on what you see on the screen, rather than making a large opening in the skin and looking directly at the gallbladder. After surgery, most patients feel well enough to go home and come back to the office for follow-up.

Laparoscopic surgery allows for a quicker recovery than traditional surgery. Most patients can return to work within three to ten days, and do not have to change their diet. Occasionally, some patients will have loose stools from a meal that has a high fat content.

To Schedule an Appointment Call Dr. Ripley: 928-668-5506
At Wickenburg Community Hospital, diagnosing and treating the needs of our growing communities is our priority.  Please contact us with any medical or surgical questions or concerns (whether listed below or not). We will work with you to understand your insurance coverage and financial responsibility, as well as pre-operative instructions, recovery, and discharge.

Primary Care

Community Hospital Clinics are located in Wickenburg, Wittmann, and Congress. We sincerely follow our mission to provide quality health and wellness services where the patient, family, and community come first.

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Our 8 bed Emergency Room department is fully staffed with emergency physicians, nurses, and ER specialists. Your wait time is typically measured in minutes not hours as in the larger metropolitan hospitals.

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Surgical Services

Wickenburg Community Hospital provides a wide variety of surgical care and treatment. We serve a vibrant and active community who favors quality health care close to home.

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