Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder, which occurs most commonly due to obstruction of the cystic duct with gallstones (cholelithiasis).
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder, which occurs most commonly due to obstruction of the cystic duct with gallstones (cholelithiasis). Blockage of the cystic duct with gallstones causes accumulation of bile in the gallbladder and increased pressure within the gallbladder. Concentrated bile, pressure, and sometimes bacterial infection irritate and damage the gallbladder wall, causing inflammation and swelling of the gallbladder. Inflammation and swelling of the gallbladder can reduce normal blood flow to areas of the gallbladder, which can lead to cell death due to insufficient oxygen. Not everyone who has gallstones will go on to develop cholecystitis.
The disease occurs more often in women than in men. It is more common after age 40. Surgery is the most common treatment.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is called cholecystectomy.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is most often done. This surgery uses smaller surgical cuts, which result in a faster recovery.
Open cholecystectomy requires a larger cut in the upper-right part of the abdomen. In patients who are too ill to have surgery because of other diseases or conditions, the gallstones may be dissolved with medication taken by mouth. However, this may take 2 years or longer to work. The stones may return after treatment.