About This Condition
Gallstones are hardened formations, composed primarily of cholesterol, that develop in the gallbladder.
Gallstones are commonly associated with bile that contains excessive cholesterol, a deficiency of other substances in bile (bile acids and lecithin), or a combination of these factors.
Gallstone attacks cause extreme pain in the upper-right quarter of the abdomen, often extending to the back. This pain can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
The most common medical treatment for gallstones is surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). Mechanical shock waves (lithotripsy) may also be applied to break up the stones. Unfortunately, gallstones commonly recur following non-surgical forms of treatment.