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Born without a gallbladder
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Born without a gallbladder

My sister has a long history of IBS and also Diabetes II.  For about 3 years she's been having "gallbladder" problems.  She had an ultrasound to rule out gallbladder stones, they also did some type of dye intake to see if it would move through the gallbladder which it did not.  They determined her gallbladder was not functioning and that she should have it removed.  Her symptoms would come and go until now they got more severe.  She has pain on her right side under her ribs and behind her right shoulder blade.  The pain now is starting in her middle back and the left side of her stomach.  She also has excessive gas even when eating a very bland low-fat diet.  They went to do the surgery yesterday and found that she was actually born without a gallbladder.  Her surgeon had never encountered this before, she has to go back to see him in 2 weeks after her recovery so they can plan out more testing.  Any ideas on what can cause gallbladder like pain when there is no gallbladder?
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I wonder if her gallbladder ruptured at some point in her life and the dead tissue eventually got reabsorbed.  Just a thought...

Has she been evaluated for sphincter of oddi dysfunction?  That could be one reason that bile and digestive enzymes aren't flowing properly.  This sphincter is a tiny group of muscles at the end of the common bile duct in the beginning of the small intestine.  Further up inside, the duct branches off to the pancreas; then to the hepatic duct that includes the gallbladder.  Now that your sister is having left sided pain, it sounds as though her pancreas is now getting involved.  SOMETHING is stopping the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes, and the liver and pancreas get really upset when this happens.  The pancreas in particular is sensitive.  If it can't get rid of it's supply of enzymes, those same enzymes will still do their work: basically digesting the pancreas itself.

She needs to ask her gastro doc about doing an MRCP to evaluate for sphincter of oddi dysfunction, and discuss with him any other problems that can occur in the biliary tree.
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