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Does Your Gallbladder Need to Be Removed? Santa Monica, CA
Chronic Pain Santa Monica, CA

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located on the right side of the body just below the liver. Its role is to aid in the digestion of fats by storing bile and releasing it into the small intestines. The struggle with this organ, however, is that it is helpful but not essential. In other words, if the gallbladder develops persistent problems, it can be removed completely and not replaced.

Not all gallbladder issues warrant surgical removal, and not everyone presents symptoms of a problematic gallbladder. Therefore, it is important that you see your physician for yearly exams as well as discuss details of any symptoms you may be having.

Gallstones Signal a Problem

Gallbladder problems are not unusual. There are many factors that can result in inflammation of the gallbladder and the development of gallstones. Gallstones are hard deposits of digestive fluid. They can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Some patients have multiple gallstones while others may only have a single gallstone. In all cases, gallstones signal trouble because they can cause blockage within the bile duct of your gallbladder. When this duct is blocked, bile can no longer circulate and cholecystitis can develop.

Cholecystitis refers to inflammation of the gallbladder caused by the accumulation or buildup of bile. Unfortunately, this condition rarely goes unnoticed. Cholecystitis is known for the following painful and disruptive symptoms, which often indicate that you need your gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy):

  • Sudden and severe pain at the upper right or center abdomen
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • Pain after eating
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

The stakes are high if you ignore this condition and symptoms of gallbladder trouble. In fact, if left untreated, an infection could develop or your gallbladder could tear or burst.

Treatment for Gallstones

In some cases, your gallstones can be dissolved and treated by changing your diet or taking certain medications. Surgical removal of the gallbladder, however, is the most common line of treatment. If gallbladder removal has been suggested for you, you can trust that it is a common, straightforward and low-risk procedure.

Preventing Gallstones

At the office of Dr. Brent Michael, we are fully equipped to diagnose and treat gallstones. However, we do our best to help patients avoid disruptive gallbladder issues, which can begin with identifying your risk factors for gallstones. WebMD also reports that “a sensible diet is the best way to prevent gallstones.” This includes avoiding crash diets or a very low intake of calories while also increasing fiber intake and decreasing excess fats.

While your body can certainly function just fine without your gallbladder, this doesn’t mean you can ignore symptoms and problems related to this digestive organ. If you are concerned you have gallstones or feel sick after eating high-fat foods, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Brent Michael in Santa Monica. Dr. Michael is a reputable primary care physician who puts comfort and compassion as a top priority.

Posted on behalf of Brent J. Michael, MD

2001 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 880W
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Phone: 310-829-7777

FAX: 310-829-9951


Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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Brent Michael

Our Patient Reviews

Brent J. Michael, MD

4.7 / 5.0

Based on 34 reviews

Tammy Siever

Dr. Michael is the most Caring Dr. I have had the privilege of having taking care of my health needs. His calm and personal demeanor is above and beyond what I have ever experienced. I have never had issues with the the waiting time but, if ever I did I would not complain because he is worth the wait. I get his complete attention the entire visit. When I leave I feel very confident that he has completely covered my heath needs from head to toe. I would recommend him to anyone who wants is concerned or wants a Dr. to be concerned about their health.

Gianpaolo von Nacher

Dr. Michael has been our family doctor for over 10 years. He has always been the main pillar in our family care; specially a few years ago when my father wouldn’t have been able to get through a very difficult period without his care. He always goes the extra mile. His staff is amazing. Anita, his nurse, always efficient, loving and caring. Aileen, in the front desk, always responsive and helpful. I’m very grateful to have them on our side.

Mark B

I could literally write pages about Dr. Michael. I thankfully met him and his staff over 13 years ago after I had been suffering from a serious lung infection for over a month that 2 other doctors had missed.- 1 due to being totally arrogant and thinking I just had a cold. I was burning up and so sick I could barely walk. Dr. Michael took the time and actually listened to me - instead of just saying its probably just the flu (as the other doctors had done) or just a cold and sending me home, he actually did a complete physical on me an then had the intuition to order a chest x ray on me (I was not even coughing at the time) and then really looked at it and discovered that I actually had a really serious lung infection and started me on antibiotics. While this may sound like no big deal - it actually was, as he actually saw that it was not a normal looking lung infection and I later learned he went above and beyond and had a infectious disease specialist look at the x ray just to be safe and as he suspected it was even more serious. Since that day he has always been my main doctor. I would also like to add that I have a serious long term health condition and most doctors would generally attribute many of my current and past health issues to my main condition (it usually is the case) but Dr. Michael always looks at whatever is happening to me at the moment as if I was a new patient. This is probably his biggest talent and gift as a doctor as he has on more than one occasion over the years thought outside the box with me and has figured out quickly why I was sick at the time - sometimes it was minor but more than a few times it was really serious. His quick way of thinking and knowledge and intuition is what kept me from getting sicker and going into the hospital. If you are looking for a doctor that actually treats you like a person and not a number then see this man. I am not a celebrity or a wealthy person - far from it - but he treats me like I am - many Vets like myself go to the VA and its a great blessing but I just do not have the energy to go there as its so big. Dr. Michael is seriously brilliant and really patient and I am truly thankful I found him.

Edward Dragavon

Dr. Michael takes the time to explain the meaning of medical terms and test results in a way that a lay person can understand. He is very thorough and answers any question that you may have. His staff is also very professional and competent at their tasks. Given a choice, I wouldn't go anywhere else.

Tim Whalen

Dr. Michael is an intelligent caring human being who is focused on positive outcomes. He has a great ability to synthesize the details of lab results and other tests into preventive measures. I greatly respect his approach to care.

William Barry

A very smart and caring doctor. Very intuitive and yet he will base his decisions on test data. Patient for over 10 years. 5 stars

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logo Brent J. Michael, MD Santa Monica, CA

Brent J. Michael, MD

2001 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 880W
Santa Monica, CA 90404



Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM