Front view of the gallbladder
Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy): A surgeon removes the gallbladder, using either laparoscopy (also called “keyhole” surgery, in which several small cuts are made) or laparotomy (traditional “open” surgery with a larger incision).
Antibiotics: Infection may be present during cholecystitis. Though antibiotics don’t typically cure cholecystitis, they can prevent an infection from spreading.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy: After surgery for gallbladder cancer, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be used to help prevent cancer from returning.
Ursodeoxycholic acid: In people with problems from gallstones who are not good candidates for surgery, this oral medicine is an option. Ursodeoxycholic acid may help dissolve small cholesterol gallstones and reduce symptoms. Another oral solution is called Chenix.
Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy: High-energy shockwaves are projected from a machine through the abdominal wall, breaking up gallstones. Lithotripsy works best if only a few small gallstones are present.
Contact solvent dissolution: A needle is inserted through the skin into the gallbladder, and chemicals are injected that dissolve gallstones. This technique is rarely used.