Gallbladder disease and gallstones are a common side effect of obesity. Ironically, rapid weight loss can also cause gallstones to form. Gallstones are hard, crystallized deposits that form in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Left untreated, gallstones cause severe pain and possible blockages.
Chronic gallbladder disease is when gallstones form and mild inflammation occurs. This causes the gallbladder to become scarred. To fix this problem, surgeons may remove your gallbladder. After removing your gallbladder, bile is able to flow directly from your liver into your small intestine. Since your gallbladder is not an essential organ to live, this will not impede your health or ability to eat normal foods.
Gallbladder Issues and Bariatric Surgery
After bariatric surgery, 35 to 50 percent of patients develop gallstones. Often, doctors will put their patients on a course of preventative medications after gastric bypass surgery. This is less common in lap-band patients because weight loss is slower and gallstones are less likely to form. Since as many as 25 percent of obese people experience gallbladder issues, doctors may elect to remove the gallbladder during bariatric surgery in patients with a history of gallstones or gallbladder issues.