To cut or not to cut
Q: After reading your advice on avoiding gallbladder surgery by eliminating allergies, I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a gallbladder attack in months. But my doctor is still concerned about my gallstones and recommends that I have then removed. What are your thoughts on gallstone surgery after allergy elimination?
Dr. Wright: Over a decade ago, I received a very angry letter from a surgeon considered to this day to be a leader in holistic medicine. He criticized my advice to avoid allergies and not have gallbladder surgery, writing that if gallstones were still in the gallbladder, they might “slip” out into the bile ducts and get stuck, obstructing the bile ducts and forcing much more dangerous emergency surgery. He said I was irresponsible, endangering people with gallstones, and that anyone with gallstones should have his or her gallbladder removed.
Fortunately, at about the same time, the New England Journal of Medicine published data refuting this point of view. The authors of the article compared the mortality rate from emergency surgery for obstructing gallstones with the mortality rate from “routine” gallbladder surgery and concluded that “routine” gallbladder surgery is actually more dangerous. They advised that “silent” gallstones should not be subject to surgery but left alone.
“Silent” gallstones are gallstones not associated with any gallbladder “attacks.” When avoiding allergies a stops gallbladder attacks, it stops them whether gallstones are present or not…and if they are, they surely become “silent.” And even the New England Journal of Medicine agrees that you should leave those “silent” gallstones alone.