Biliary tract calculi (singular, calculus) occur when crystal-like particles form in the gallbladder and travel down to the biliary duct. These particles are commonly called gallstones and are mostly composed of cholesterol. However, a small number of gallstones are made up of bilirubin and calcium salts. While small gallstones have typically no symptoms, larger particles can cause significant health problems if they have become lodged in the biliary tract or bile duct as they pass into the stomach. When this happens, patients experience acute and severe pain in the chest and abdominal area. The pain can travel between the shoulder blades and patients typically develop fever and chills. They also experience nausea and constant vomiting. The lodged calculus can cause a blockage that can result in inflammation. The bile can also be blocked in its passage from the liver and can cause cholangitis.
Several hospitals in Southeast Asia are properly equipped to provide accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for patients with biliary tract calculi. This condition is diagnosed with the use of ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, and barium exam. These diagnostic procedures are readily available in many medical facilities across the region, which also feature state-of-the-art medical tools and sophisticated equipment to ensure that patients receive appropriate medical care. In most cases, the most effective treatment for the calculus of the biliary tract is cholecystectomy, a surgical procedure that removes gallstones lodged in the bile duct and gallbladder. Depending on the severity of the condition and the size of calculi, patients may be offered noninvasive procedures to avoid the trauma and complications of surgery. Whatever treatment is deemed suitable for patients, internationally certified physicians and surgeons are on hand to provide excellent medical care without charging a fortune. Medical care in Southeast Asia is up to 75% cheaper when compared to Western countries, but the quality of care offered to patients is basically the same.