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Should silent gall stones be removed?

Q: My father's age is 71 years. A gallstone was detected during an ultrasound checkup. Should a silent gallstone of 10 mm, which is not causing any pain, be removed? We are getting mixed medical opinions about removing gall bladder. Should a silent stone be removed or can it stay?

A:A silent gallstone (i.e. one that is not causing any abdominal pain or biliary dyspepsia) measuring 1 cm in size can certainly be left alone without any need whatsoever for gall bladder removal. At your father's age the risks of surgery outweigh any benefits of gall bladder removal. The only silent gallstone that needs removal is one that is 3 cm or larger in size, due to the risk of malignancy in the gall bladder.


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