Gallbladder disease and weight loss surgery

Gallbladder disease and weight loss surgery | a risk factor

The gallbladder is an organ which is small and pear-shaped, and lies on the right side of the abdomen beneath the liver, a vital organ of the digestive system which produces fluid bile. Bile moves to the small intestine. Gallbladder disease, especially gallstones, is another morbidity related to obesity. Studies report that there is a strong connection between gallbladder disease and weight loss.

Obesity and gallstones

Obese people are have higher risk of developing gallstones in their gallbladder. It is because the cholesterol levels are very high in such people. Moreover, the fatty deposits may also be very high. Bile is mainly responsible for emulsifying fats. However, when cholesterol and fatty acids significantly exceed the standard limit, it fails the bile, and the cholesterol begins to accumulate. Consequently, the lumps and stones begin to form. 

Approximately 25% of obese people suffer from gallstones at some stage in life. Furthermore, women are more prone to forming gallstones than men. The higher the weight around the waist is, the more is the risk of having gallstones. Hence, gallbladder disease and weight loss are strongly connected.   

Weight loss treatment 

Laparoscopic and Bariatric surgery is the best treatment for severe obesity so far. It helps lose 30% to 40% of the excess weight, which may be up to 24 to 50 pounds in six months. Not only heavyweight but such a rapid weight loss may also put on risk to develop gallstones. Studies indicate that approximately 35% of the people who undergo laparoscopic and bariatric surgery develop gallstones. The chances are 10% to 12% during 8-16 weeks after the surgery. The risk increases to about 30% in 12-18 months after the surgery. However, control over the rate of weight loss may decrease gallstones’ chances, which is evident in the strong correlation between gallbladder disease and weight loss

For the same reason, before laparoscopic and bariatric surgery, the weight loss surgeon suggests removing the gallbladder. Even if not before the surgery, it can also be combined with bariatric surgery.

Gallbladder and weight loss

Gallbladder removal not only helps in avoiding the complications of gallstones but also helps with weight loss. Here are a few facts about gallbladder disease and weight loss.

  • After the gallbladder removal, the weight loss surgeon would suggest you avoid fatty foods. Hence, you will be losing weight side by side as well.
  • Post-surgery, spicy foods are also not allowed. 
  • You would be able to eat small portions of food only. Hence, cutting out your diet would also help you maintain your weight.