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Gallstones represent one of the commonest surgical problems in the developed world. Post-mortem studies have found gallstones in 12% of men and 24% of women of all ages. Gallstones may be symptomatic or found incidentally. Symptoms arise due to stones in the gallbladder, in the bile duct, or both. It is estimated that 10–30% of patients with gallstones develop symptoms, of which a majority eventually require endoscopic or surgical intervention. Complications of gallstone disease include acute cholecystitis, obstructive jaundice, acute pancreatitis, gangrene of the gallbladder and gallstone ileus. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is currently the treatment of choice for symptomatic gallstone disease and common bile duct stones can be treated surgically or at endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

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