Removal of gallstones in Germany: diagnostics, methods, results

Gallstones are the result of metabolic disorders or an unbalanced diet. Important role is played by hereditary factors, lack of exercise, abuse of fatty foods and alcohol. 

Pathology does not manifest itself for a long time until concretions do not clog the bile ducts. The difficulty outflow of bile results in a number of unpleasant symptoms:

  • nausea;
  • pain in the right upper quadrant;
  • dry mouth, bitter taste;
  • dizziness;
  • weakness;
  • loss of appetite.

 If you periodically have pain in the liver, extending into the back or under the scapula, you should immediately consult a doctor. 

When solid formations completely overlap the bile ducts, a strong pain syndrome appears, which can lead to a shock. In this case, patient needs an urgent operation to remove the gallbladder. In case of a fast visit to the doctor, it is possible to avoid radical surgery and large expenses for the operation.

According to statistics, women of middle and old age are 3–5 times more likely to experience this disease than men.

Diagnostic options for gallstones 

In case of impaired bile outflow, the secret does not enter the rectum (which is necessary for normal digestion), but accumulates in the gallbladder and liver, which provokes the development of the inflammatory process over time. Symptoms of chronic cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) are:

  • fever;
  • lethargy;
  • dull pain in right side aggravated by any movement;
  • loss of appetite.

 If the wall of the sprawling gallbladder bursts, the secret gets into the abdominal cavity, which leads to the development of peritonitis. It is a serious threat to life.

In German hospitals, doctors will quickly make an accurate diagnosis of suspected cholelithiasis. The list of the main diagnostic methods includes:

  • ultrasound examination of the gallbladder and ducts;
  • endoscopic examinations (cholangiopancreatography);
  • abdominal X-ray;
  • CT scan, MRI;
  • subcutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

The diagnostics determines the condition of the liver and biliary ducts, the presence/absence of cystic ducts, the gallbladder tone, the location of the pancreas and its functionality. Individual treatment regimen can be developed after a comprehensive examination of the patient.

Treatment of gallstones in Germany

The strategy of removal of Bile duct stones is aimed at restoring the normal outflow of bile without complications. It can be carried out using minimally invasive operations under the endoscope through several miniature punctures or high-tech methods (fragmentation and dissolving of stones without direct access to the abdominal organs).

Medicinal methods of treatment are used in the early stages of the disease, when it is possible to get rid of the stones and preserve the gallbladder. Conservative methods (dissolution and lithotripsy) can solve the problem temporarily, but the risk of relapse is 50%.

Chemical dissolution can be done in case of the small size of calculus (less than 5 mm), when the gallbladder fully preserves physiological functionality. Doctors prescribe medication containing ursodeoxycholic or chenodeoxycholic acid. Treatment lasts from three months to six months or more.

The shock wave destruction of stones in the bile ducts is prescribed when there is a small number of solid formations. Fragments of stones are excreted through the intestines. The treatment is carried out by sessions (from 1 to 7) under the supervision of specialists. The procedure can provoke intestinal colic. 

A targeted crushing of stones with a laser is performed through a small puncture in the abdominal area. It is indicated in case of small and very small formations.

Hybrid-NOTES endoscopic technique involves inserting a tool for crushing stones through anatomical holes (administered orally to men and transvaginal to women).

Laparoscopic TULC surgery is performed through an incision in the navel.

Recovery after surgery in German hospitals lasts 2–3 days. It is not necessary to follow a diet, because the risk of complications is minimal.

Cost of treatment

Depending on the status of the clinic and the equipment used, the cost of treatment in Germany is from 2 to 9 thousand euros. The patient can return home on the day after the last procedure or on the third day after the operation.

The most popular hospitals in Germany, which treat patients with cholelithiasis, include the Duesseldorf Gastroenterology Clinic, the Charite Hospital in Berlin, the University Hospital Heidelberg and Freiburg, the Vivantes International Medical Center, the Asklepios Network.

BookingHealth will help obtaine information about services in German hospitals. The portal provides the necessary service and full medical support abroad.



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