COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: Testing and Information | Vaccine Updates | Visitor Guidelines

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin physicians treat many diseases of the gallbladder including:

  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) — a common condition, acute cholecystitis is a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder that causes severe abdominal pain (right upper quadrant epigastric pain). In most cases, it is caused by gallstones in the gallbladder, which obstruct the duct leading from the gallbladder to the common bile duct. Severe illness, alcohol abuse and tumors of the gallbladder can also cause cholecystitis. When repeated attacks of acute cholecystitis occur, a person is said to have chronic cholecystitis.

  • Gallstones (cholelithiasis) — stones located within the gallbladder. While most stones are of a mixture of cholesterol and bile salts, some gallstones are cholesterol stones that form when the liver begins secreting bile that is abnormally saturated with cholesterol. The excess cholesterol crystallizes and forms stones which are stored in the gallbladder.

  • Gallbladder cancer — a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the gallbladder.

Gallbladder Disease Treatments

For benign (non-cancerous) disease, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be done. This involves removing the gallbladder using laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery that uses a camera and instruments inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. This is a common procedure that is often performed on an outpatient basis. Once the gallbladder is removed, bile travels from the liver directly into the small intestine instead of being stored in the gallbladder.

For gallbladder cancer, removal of the gallbladder usually offers the best hope. A simple cholecystectomy (above) may be done if the tumor is small and has not spread to the deeper layers of gallbladder. If the cancer is more advanced, an extended cholecystectomy may be done to remove the gallbladder, surrounding liver tissue, lymph nodes and sometimes the bile duct.

Recognized as High Performing by U.S. News & World Report

Froedtert Hospital is nationally ranked in three adult specialties by U.S. News & World Report. Froedtert Hospital is also recognized as high performing in four adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions, including gastroenterology and GI surgery. Learn more.

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We'll assess your condition and develop a treatment plan right away. To schedule a virtual visit, call 414-805-3666.

Learn More