What Are Biliary Symptoms?

  • Daniel J. Kilburn
  • Nicholas A. O’RourkeEmail author


In this chapter we shall discuss all symptoms caused by the gallbladder (GB) and gallstones (GS), relying on evidence of symptom resolution following cholecystectomy. Gallstones are very common. An autopsy study from Melbourne, demonstrated a prevalence of ‘asymptomatic GS’ of over 20% [1]. In patients with truly asymptomatic GS, the chance of progression to symptoms ranges from 2% to 5% per year (Chap.  5) [2, 3]. As GS are so common, and most never cause any problems, it is essential for clinicians to understand and identify the patients most likely to benefit from cholecystectomy. Even 300 years ago, Coe described classic biliary pain and, in many ways, his description still holds true [4]. In Victorian times, surgeons realised that the patients who benefited the most from surgery are those who suffered from severe episodes of pain, rather than vague symptoms of gastrointestinal upset [4].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Brisbane HospitalBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of MedicineThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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