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3 Reasons Why You May Need Your Gallbladder Removed

Did you know that gallbladder removal is one of the most common surgeries in the United States? Your gallbladder is a small organ that plays a key role in digestion, but it can also be a source of painful complications that necessitate its removal.

Symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea could indicate gallbladder problems, but it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause. 

Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, and our surgical team specialize in minimally invasive gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) in Laguna Hills, California, and we can help. 

Here are three common reasons why you might need your gallbladder removed.


Gallstones are the No. 1 reason people need gallbladder surgery. Gallstones are small, hard deposits that form inside your gallbladder when bile components crystallize. 

Some people have gallstones without experiencing any symptoms, but others suffer from intense abdominal pain, known as biliary colic.

When gallstones obstruct the flow of bile, you can experience severe cramping pain in your upper abdomen. Sometimes, the pain radiates to your back or shoulder blades. Biliary colic pain often lasts for several hours at a time and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

How gallbladder surgery can help

Sometimes gallstones cause recurrent episodes of biliary colic or complications like gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), bile duct blockage (choledocholithiasis), or pancreatitis. 

If you experience these complications, surgical removal can alleviate the symptoms and prevent further issues.

Gallbladder inflammation

Cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder, causes symptoms like:

You might develop cholecystitis due to factors like gallstones blocking your cystic duct, bacterial infections, or impaired blood flow to your gallbladder.  In some cases, cholecystitis can become chronic, leading to recurrent episodes of inflammation and discomfort.

How gallbladder surgery can help

The first line of treatment for gallbladder inflammation usually includes antibiotics and pain management. But if conservative treatment fails to resolve your symptoms, surgical removal could be a good option. 

Cholecystectomy effectively eliminates the source of inflammation, alleviating symptoms and reducing your risk of recurrent cholecystitis.

Biliary dyskinesia

Biliary dyskinesia is characterized by abnormal gallbladder function, when the organ fails to contract and release bile efficiently during digestion. 

This dysfunction can result from neurological disorders, muscular abnormalities, or dysfunction of the sphincter of Oddi, which is the valve that controls the flow of bile into the small intestine.

Not everyone with biliary dyskinesia has symptoms, but it can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea.

How gallbladder surgery can help

While there are conservative treatment options for biliary dyskinesia, cholecystectomy could be an option if you have significant discomfort from the condition. By eliminating the dysfunctional gallbladder, surgery can offer long-lasting relief from symptoms and better digestive health.

You shouldn’t take the decision to have your gallbladder removed lightly, but sometimes it’s necessary to stop discomfort and improve your quality of life. 

To learn more about your options and find out if gallbladder removal could be right for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Klause. Call us at 949-245-6910 or request an appointment online now.

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