Management of gallstones and their complications

Am Fam Physician. 2000 Mar 15;61(6):1673-80, 1687-8.


The accurate differentiation of gallstone-induced biliary colic from other abdominal disease processes is the most crucial step in the successful management of gallstone disease. Despite the availability of many imaging techniques to demonstrate the presence of gallstones, clinical judgment ultimately determines the association of symptoms with cholelithiasis and its complications. Adult patients with silent or incidental gallstones should be observed and managed expectantly, with few exceptions. In symptomatic patients, the intervention varies with the type of gallstone-induced complication. In this article, we review the salient clinical features, diagnostic tests and therapeutic options employed in the management of gallstones and their complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholagogues and Choleretics / therapeutic use
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic
  • Cholelithiasis* / complications
  • Cholelithiasis* / diagnosis
  • Cholelithiasis* / therapy
  • Contraindications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Teaching Materials
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Cholagogues and Choleretics
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid