Pancreas and Gallbladder

By: Victor, Harsh, and Phani


Gallstones are the most pressing of all gallbladder diseases. They develop when substances in the bile (such as cholesterol, bile salts, and calcium) form hard particles that block the passageway to the gallbladder. The stones tend to form when the gallbladder doesn’t empty completely or often enough. They vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. The symptoms are pain in the upper abdomen and upper back. The pain may last for several hours. Nausea, vomiting, other gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, indigestion and heartburn, and gas.


Dignastosic tests: Abdominal ultrasound and a computerized tomography (CT) scan to create pictures of your gallbladder. These images can be analyzed to look for signs of gallstones. Blood test could also be used.

Treatment: Treatment of gallstones is considered necessary only if you are having symptoms. Of the various conventional treatments that are available, surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most widely used. Some alternative treatments have also been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of troublesome gallstones.


Medications: Ursodiol is used to dissolve gallstones in patients who do not want surgery or cannot have surgery to remove gallstones.

Operations: Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) removes the gallbladder and gallstones through several small cuts (incisions) in the abdomen. The surgeon inflates your abdomen with air or carbon dioxide in order to see clearly.

Interesting facts:

1. Frequent and prolonged intake of fatty foods, would result in excessive concentration and hardening of bile juice resulting in the formation of gall bladder stones.

2. Removing gall bladder does not interfere much with fat metabolism and bile is directly secreted to the intestine.

3. Inflammatory disorder of the gall bladder is also common among people who have been suffering from untreated and prolonged infection of typhoid.


Acute pancreatitis is a sudden attack causing inflammation of the pancreas and is usually associated with severe upper abdominal pain. The pain may be severe and last several days. Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and fever. In the United States, the most common cause of acute pancreatitis is gallstones. Other causes include chronic alcohol consumption, hereditary conditions, trauma, medications, infections, electrolyte abnormalities, high lipid levels, hormonal abnormalities, or other unknown causes. The treatment is usually supportive with medications showing no benefit. Most patients with acute pancreatitis recover completely.


Diagnostic tests: The GP (general practitioner, primary care physician) will evaluate you to see of you have and by blood tests they can also tell if you have it or not. An ultrasound scan which has high frequency sound waves create an image on a monitor of the pancreas and its surroundings.

Treatment: Treatment often requires a stay in the hospital and may involve: Pain medicines, Fluids given through a vein (IV), Stopping food or fluid by mouth to limit the activity of the pancreas, occasionally a tube will be inserted through the nose or mouth to remove the contents of the stomach (nasogastric suctioning). This may be done if vomiting and severe pain do not improve, or if a paralyzed bowel (paralytic ileus) develops. The tube will stay in for 1 - 2 days to 1 - 2 weeks.Treating the condition that caused the problem can prevent repeated attacks.

In some cases, therapy is needed to: Drain fluid that has collected in or around the pancreas

Remove gallstones, relieve blockages of the pancreatic duct, In the most severe cases, surgery is needed to remove damaged, dead or infected pancreatic tissue.


Medications: The goal of pharmacotherapy is to relieve pain and minimize complications. Currently, no medications are used to treat acute pancreatitis specifically. Therapy is primarily supportive

Operations: The common reason for surgery is for persistent bad pain that is not helped by painkillers or other methods. Improvement in pain occurs in about 7 in 10 patients who have surgery. The operation usually involves removing part of the pancreas.There are different techniques that remove different amounts of the pancreas. The one chosen depends on the severity of your condition, whether the tube which leads to the pancreas (the pancreatic duct) is blocked, and also on various other factors. Other operations may be advised in some cases. For example, removal of a large calcium stone that is blocking the main pancreatic duct. Another procedure that may help in some people is to 'stretch' wide a narrowed pancreatic duct to allow better drainage of pancreatic enzymes.

Intresting Facts:

1. The pancreas releases hormones into the blood which help control your blood sugars (glucose). These two important chemicals are called insulin and glucagon.

2. Insulin is released after you eat, or you have too much sugar (glucose) in your blood. It forces the sugar to go into your muscles and other cells to prevent the damage caused by too much sugar.

3. When your sugar (glucose) is low, the pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon. This makes the liver release sugars, which keeps your brain and other organs that depend on sugar (glucose) happy.

Health Science I CHS