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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Need Help with Alternative to Gallbladder Surgery
Date: 16 Jul 1995

In <3u9aon$> (Jamell
Acree) writes:

>In <3u6786$> (Ronda
>Ballew) writes:
>>My Dad is 67 and his doctors say he needs his gall bladder removed
>>because he has hundreds of stones.  He has been told by another doctor
>>that if he has surgery, his chances are slim of ever getting off the
>>life support (he has very advanced emphysema).
>>He said he would give me a chance to see if I can find a
>>nutritional/alternative to the drastic surgery that may take his life.
>>Please, if anyone has information or can point me to any information
>>that can help please, please do.
>>I noticed there was a thread about gall bladder alternatives, but I got
>>into the thread too late to know what it is, how to find out, etc. Thank
>Go to your book store and get ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, The Definitive
>Guide, published by Future Medicine Publishing, Inc., Puyallup,
>It is LARGE...8" X 11" and over 1,000 pages and costs about $50 but it
>is worth it.
>On page 924 is a description of how to prepare for and do a gallbladder
>flush.  It involves diet modification followed by drinking apple juice
>followed by a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. A nutritional
>therapy is also discussed.  You need to read it to get it right.

There are also plenty of standard medical (non surgical) treatments
which sometimes work for gallstones, particularly small noncalcified
ones.  There are several oral preparations such as CDCA (chenic or
chenodexycholic acid) or its close cousin ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)
which work a good fraction of the for small stones (which it sounds like
you are talking about in this case) of the right composition.  Shockwave
lithotrypsy works for non-calcified stones, and sometimes even for
calcified ones.  A few people are even disolving stones by infusion of
methy tertiary butyl ether run in through a percutaneous catheter (i.e.,
a needlestuck into the side by a radiologist).  Look around for
specialists in your area, which your gastroenterologist can refer you

                                             Steve Harris, M.D.

From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Gall bladder removal
Date: 7 Jan 2004 11:07:06 -0600
Message-ID: <3ffc3c30$0$96249$>

"Marco" <> wrote in message
> "Howard McCollister" <> wrote in message
> > The patient will just make more stones if the gallbladder is left in
> > place.
> Why is that so? What if the patient changes his/her diet or lifestyle
> in order to prevent the formation of other stones?
> > Treatment for gall stone that are causing symptoms is gallbladder
> > removal.
> Is it true that the gallbladder serves no useful function? What are
> the side effects of gallbladder removal?
> Thanks,

Diet doesn't play a significant role in the development of gallstones.
Numerous methods of gallbladder stone removal have been tried over the last
100 years, all without ultimate effect. These have included removing the
stones surgically, dissolving them in the gallbladder with direct
instillation of petroleum ethers, dissolving them with medication (such as
chenodeoxycholic acid), and breaking them up with ultrasound
(cholelithotripsy). It has been found that none of these things work
reliably or consistently, and the stones are reformed.

The gallbladder does have a function that theoretically aids in the
digestion of fats in the diet. Removing the gallbladder changes the flow
patterns of bile in the intestinal tract, something the body easily
accomodates for. The only consistent side effect of gallbladder removal is
diarrhea. This might occur in as many as 20% of such patients, but in the
vast majority it is transient and resolves within weeks.

Laparoscopic gallbladder removal has, overall, become the simplest and most
effective way of dealing with symptomatic gallstones. Patient recovery is
quick (outpatient in over 50% of cases IME), pain tends to minimal, and
return to work within a week or less. Given these facts, the safety, the low
risk of side effects and the fact that it cures the problem (gallstone
formation in the gallbladder), it is absolutely the preferred method of
dealing with gallstones that are causing the patient problems.


From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Gall Bladder Surgury, Yes or No?
Date: 10 Feb 2005 06:57:15 -0600
Message-ID: <420b598d$0$94791$>

"Big Daddy" <> wrote in message
> I've had 3 bouts of pain in my upper middle stomache area, each lasting
> about 6 hours, all from about midnight to 6am in a span of about 4
> months.  I haven't had an attack in over a month.
> Doctor sent me for sonigram and upper GI (x-ray while drinking Barium).
> Results show no reflux problems but do show gall stones.  I've never
> had surgury of any kind and even though the doctor's talking about 95%
> chance of doing laproscopic (in and out the same day), I'm beginning to
> wonder if I should agree to the surgury or wait until the conditions
> worsen.
> Like I said, it's been almost 6 weeks since the last attack and I've
> heard that the results of the surgury could cause problems for over a
> year!  True?  What problems?  I don't want to sound like a baby, but
> I'm trying to weigh the risks / benefits.  If I start on a low fat
> diet, is it possible I'll never really need the operation or is it
> inevitable?
> Any thoughts?
> One selfish thought is that it's February and if I had to choose a
> season to get it done and over with, it would be now.

Yes, now is the time to get your gallbladder out. The problem (gallstones)
won't go away, and those three attacks are signals to you that a serious
acute infection of your gallbladder is imminent. Should that occur, the pain
will be quite substantial, will land you in the hospital for at least a few
days, and result in an operation anyway. Having your gallbladder out when
it's acutely infected like that decreases the chances that the operation
could be done laparoscopically and increases the chances of significant
intraoperative or postoperative complications. Additionally, you are at risk
for other serious complications of gallbladder disease such as pancreatitis,
common duct obstruction, abscess, and extensive infections of the biliary


From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Gall Bladder Surgury, Yes or No?
Date: 10 Feb 2005 22:27:09 -0600
Message-ID: <420c3394$0$57376$>

"DP" <> wrote in message
> May I (male, Caucasian, 62y/o) ask you and the other specialists for an
> explanation/advice about this problem:
> in 2002 I went through an acute cholecystitis,
> in August 2004 I've survived an acute pancreatitis
> US, CT  show 'microlithiasis' and MRCP: a 'mild dysfunction on the level
> of papilla Vateri.'
> I was recommended to get my GB out.
> Otherwise, I have no subjective troubles having naturally a strict diet.
> My blood tests are normal except this: 'EIA anti Hbs: reactive.' But I
> can't remember any symptoms of  a hepatitis. What does 'reactive' actually
> mean?
> Recommended vaccination...?!
> Now, shall I accept surgery or could I still wait a while?
> TIA for your support
> DP

You have gallstones, a history of acute gallbladder infection, and a history
of gallstone pancreatitis. You should have had your gallbladder taken out in
2002. You have a dangerous condition that can be fatal.

"Reactive" means you have antibodies to the hepatitis B surface antigen,
which in turn means you have either had hepatitis, have it now, or have been
vaccinated for hepatitis B. It has nothing to do with gallstones.


From: David Rind <>
Subject: Re: Gallstone surgery
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2005 22:09:15 -0500
Message-ID: <d0ggor$414$>

sis wrote:
> But please; tell me why my being asymptomatic of gall bladder disease
> from within days of stopping LIPITOR to now has nothing to do with
> stopping LIPITOR.

Gallstones are a mechanical problem. It's not really believable that
stopping atorvastatin would cause gallbladder symptoms (biliary colic)
due to gallstones to immediately go away -- the stones aren't going to
dissolve over a few days.

If stopping the atorvastatin really had a causal affect on the
resolution of the symptoms, it would seem more likely that the symptoms
the atorvastatin was causing were not actually gallbladder symptoms but
rather some other gastrointestinal symptoms that seemed like gallbladder
symptoms. There's no simple way to sort this out. Even ignoring the
issue of atorvastatin, lots of people have gallstones and lots of people
have abdominal discomfort (including right upper quadrant discomfort)
and in only some of those people is the abdominal discomfort due to the

David Rind

From: David Rind <>
Subject: Re: Gallstone surgery
Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 06:53:29 -0500
Message-ID: <d0hffp$gav$> wrote:

> It didn't immediately go away. When you are in a lot of pain and it
> recedes, it just *seems* immediate.
> I didn't have gallbladder disease? Whew! All the more reason to be glad
> I didn't have gallbladder surgery.
> Is your quibble with me because I think LIPITOR can cause gall bladder
> disease? I know too many other LIPITOR users who had or have had
> similar gastrointestinal problems. A couple physicians.
> I know I cannot say with certainty LIPITOR caused gall bladder disease
> in me. But it is something the OP (if she is taking a statin) might
> consider. And you too, if you have patients taking LIPITOR who present
> with similar symptoms.

No, I wasn't quibbling with the assumption that Lipitor can cause
gallbladder disease. I don't know that Lipitor causes gallbladder
disease, but I'm willing to assume it's true for the purposes of this
thread. I'm also assuming that by gallbladder disease you mean pain
related to gallstones -- if Lipitor somehow directly inflamed the
gallbladder, I suppose it could get better right away after stopping the
drug. Drugs don't usually cause cholecystitis directly, however, and if
you had cholecystitis you would likely have gone urgently for surgery,
so I'm assuming that isn't what your doctor felt you had.

Lipitor definitely causes abdominal pain in some people and rarely
causes something called cholestatic jaundice. In someone who also had
gallstones (which are usually asymptomatic), these symptoms could lead
to a doctor concluding that the gallstones were causing the symptoms
when it was really the Lipitor. (By the way, this is in no way unique to
statins -- lots of drugs cause GI symptoms.)

But this is all just wild speculation. Gallstone symptoms are tricky.
Sorting this sort of thing out is why people are better off getting
medical care from a live doctor who can see them than from the Internet.
And even then, the doctor is likely to be wrong relatively often since
there's no perfect way to prove that a given episode of abdominal pain
is due to gallstones.

David Rind

From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Gallstone surgery
Date: 7 Mar 2005 07:32:03 -0600
Message-ID: <422c5764$0$11315$>

"sis" <> wrote in message
> Howard McCollister wrote:
>> ..which has nothing to do with your stopping Lipitor
> Why do you think that? You must have something in mind which it does
> have to do with.

Nothing has been shown that would indicate that any of the statins directly
cause inflammation of the gallbladder. We DO know that they can promote
gallstone formation. So, the current concept is that statins can cause
gallbladder disease by causing gallstones and the gallstones in turn cause
the symptoms. It's the gallstones that cause the gallbladder symptoms, not
the Lipitor. Furthermore, once the Lipitor has caused the gallstones, the
gallstones are there forever - they won't go away once the Lipitor has been

Now, Dr. Rind's suggestion that Z's GI symptoms weren't due to gallstones,
but were more likely due to side effects of the Lipitor is a good one. Given
the fact that he hasn't had a repeat problem with them in 7 years,
Lipitor-induced, non-gallbladder abdominal pain represents the most likely
situation in his case. If one accepts this scenario, he most likely does
have asymptomatic gallstones.


From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Gallstone surgery
Date: 7 Mar 2005 07:17:04 -0600
Message-ID: <422c53f2$0$11333$>

"cycjec" <> wrote in message

> and not fun either.  moreover if the stones increase in size
> as a result of delay, the laparascopic procedure may become
> infeasible, I've heard.

Nah...the size and/or number of the gallstones is generally irrelevant to
the feasibility of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Acute inflammation,
gangrene of the gallbladder, suppurative perforation, or Mirizzi's Syndrome
can provide a challenge to a laparoscopic approach, however. I've seen all
of these entities within the last 6 months - they aren't terribly uncommon.


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