The cholelithiasis (or stones or gallstones) is the formation of stones in the gallbladder . Most patients are asymptomatic. However, some complications can arise as a result of these calculations.
One of these complications is their migration to the bile ducts, which is called choledocholithiasis and which we will talk about in this article.
Keep reading to understand a little more about the stones that reach the bile ducts. See why this is a problem that requires attention and treatment and what are the complications that it can cause.
Get to know Fibroscan and understand how it works by clicking here!
What is choledocholithiasis?
Lithiasis is the name given to the problem of formation of stones (or stones) in the body. The gallbladder is very susceptible to this, and a risk for the development of gallstones is the high cholesterol levels.
When the stones are small and remain inside the gallbladder, the patient may not have symptoms and live with them. However, there is a possibility that the stones leave the gallbladder and become lodged in the bile duct, the one that transports bile to the intestine.
In this case , the individual develops secondary choledocholithiasis, since the stone did not form there. These are the most common cases of the problem, however, it can also happen that the stone forms in the choledochal duct , so the individual develops primary choledocholithiasis.
What are the symptoms of choledocholithiasis?
While the stones are located inside the gallbladder , as explained, the individual may not have symptoms. However, their migration or their formation in the bile ducts can lead to their obstruction, preventing the passage of bile. The obstructed canal triggers several symptoms in the individual , such as:
- abdominal pain, which can be intense, strong, colic and continuous;
● stomach pain;
● back pain;
● jaundice (yellow skin and eyes);
● nausea and vomiting;
● acolia (light colored feces, putty type);
● choluria (urine darkened like coca cola);
This last symptom indicates that there may be an infection associated with choledocholithiasis. Although most patients have symptoms, some may be asymptomatic.
Why is choledocholithiasis a concern?
The abdominal pain is a very characteristic symptom of gallstones because the bile preventing the passage causes this discomfort, especially after meals. However, choledocholithiasis is a cause for concern due to other complications that it triggers , especially an infection known as cholangitis.
In the case of cholangitis, it is a biliary inflammation that can progress to infection. In other words, it favors the proliferation of bacteria in the bile duct from the duodenum. This problem, besides being very painful, causes an increase in the volume of the liver, the formation of abscesses and its mortality rate is high.
How is choledocholithiasis treated?
As you can see , a stone that forms in the bile duct can cause major health complications. Therefore, choledocholithiasis needs to receive an accurate diagnosis to perform the treatment, which begins with the removal of the stone , through endoscopy – a treatment known as endoscopic papillotomy or more precisely this procedure will be associated with a retrograde endoscopic cholangipancreatography (ERCP) examination. .
It is also part of the treatment of choledocholithiasis to perform surgery to remove the gallbladder, in order to avoid the formation of new stones and the recurrence of the case.
In cases of primary choledocholithiasis (patients without gallbladder or who do not have gallstones), treatment is surgical by making a connection between the intestine and the bile duct.
See how the pre and postoperative gall bladder surgery works, click here!
The preventive measures are still the better alternative for all patients, so it is important that if you notice any bothersome symptom, especially after meals, or diagnosis of cholelithiasis , perform laparoscopic surgery in order to avoid the choledocholitiasis as a complication .