I've talked to a lot of post-op bypass patients and a lot of them have mentioned getting gallstones after surgery. What are the chances this will happen to me and is there anything I can do to reduce my risk? Thanks!
Am I Likely to Get Gallstones After Gastric Bypass?
Doctor Answers 2
Gallstones after gastric bypass
The older theories were that this is a very high correlation of gallstones with gastric bypass surgery. We perform preoperative gallbladder ultrasounds on all of our patients. If we find gallstones we take out the gallbladder at the time of the gastric bypass surgery. If there are no gallstones we leave the gallbladder alone. I have been performing gastric bypass surgery for over 12 years and have performed more than 2500 gastric bypass procedures and have only had to take out about 10 gallbladders during this time. It is not necessary to be on any medications to prevent gallstones after bariatric surgery and the incident of gallbladder problems is much lower than has been reported after gastric bypass surgery.
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Gallstones after Gastric Bypass
Rapid weight loss is associated with gallstones due to the fact that there is chemical change in the composition of bile. According to one study there is a 71% chance of getting gallstones after rapid weight loss. In my bariatric practice, I place my patients on a medication called ursodiol which dissolves gallstones. This medication decreases the risk of getting gallstones but does not eliminate the risk.