Gallstones Treatment London

What are the treatments for gallstones at The London Digestion Centre?

In many cases, no treatment for gallstones is needed if they do not cause any symptoms and are picked up incidentally

Gallstones Surgery, London

An operation to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the standard treatment if you have symptoms caused by gallstones.

'Key-hole' surgery is the most common way to remove the gallbladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy). Four small cuts are made, one close to the umbilicus and three along the top of the right side if the abdomen. The gallbladder is removed using long, fine instruments. Key-hole surgery is not suitable for all people, particularly those who have had a lot of abdominal surgery already.

In some cases (<5%) key-hole surgery proves not to be possible and the procedure is converted to the ‘open’ operation using a longer incision.

Other procedures may be needed if a stone moves from the gallbladder into the bile duct. These procedures may be surgical, endoscopic or using X-ray control.

It is very rare that gallstones can be ‘shattered’. This is a technique for kidney stones.


Taking a medicine called ursodeoxycholic acid may sometimes 'dissolve' small stones. This may take years of treatment, is not usually successful, and the gallstones usually come back. Treatments for gallstones involving mixtures of oils such as olive oil and flour or ‘Epsom’ salts are not evidence based.

After gallbladder removal

Bile still flows from the liver to the duodenum after the gallbladder is removed but there is less of an extra surge of bile with eating. Most people find they can return to their normal diet after the gallbladder is removed although we should all be on a low fat diet anyway. Some people, however, do get some bloating, particularly with a fatty meal and occasionally some increase in bowel frequency. This is rarely troublesome.

How do I get treatment?

To get further information or treatment, please contact one of our consultants at The London Bridge Digestion centre, on:

tel: +44 (0) 20 7403 3814