Phoenix surgeons see rise in emergency gallbladder surgery after Thanksgiving meals
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Many people joke about being “stuffed” or “too full” from their Thanksgiving meal, but it turns out that has been a real problem for some.
Emergency rooms in the Valley are filling up with people who’ve needed emergency gallbladder surgery from overeating on Thanksgiving. In some cases, gallbladders have exploded. So, what’s the main culprit that’s causing it?
“You don’t want to end up in the situation where you’re spending the holiday in the critical care ICU with an exploded gallbladder intestine,” said Dr. Sam Durrani, general surgery Chief of Staff at Deer Valley Medical Center.
Yet that’s been the reality for some Valley residents. “It was a busy 24 hours, and I’m on call for four different hospitals,” said Durrani. “I was in surgery taking out a gallbladder earlier today,” said general surgeon Dr. Benjamin Hanshaw.
Dr. Durrani was on-call on the opposite shift as Dr. Benjamin Hanshaw in the hours and day after Thanksgiving. Both said there has been a big uptick in the number of people coming in for gallstones, diverticulitis, and other intestinal issues ever since they dove into their Thanksgiving feasts.
Dr. Durrani said one ingredient on the table is often the worst. “It’s not necessarily the turkey so much unless it’s fried turkey, but the gravy can really kick people’s gallbladder into gear,” he said. “It’s triggered by fatty food intake, greasy food intake, and spicy food intake.”
If the gallbladder explodes, it becomes critical fast. “That’s incredibly serious. It can put people into the ICU in septic shock,” said Dr. Durrani. But Dr. Hanshaw said it doesn’t usually get to that point, but the issue still requires you to get the gallbladder taken out. “It’s very difficult to make it better or make it feel better,” said Dr. Hanshaw. If you have some sort of underlying gallbladder issue, to begin with, it can really set that off.”
Both doctors said the best way to avoid this is to be mindful when having those big holiday meals simply. “Have a good time, just try not to overdo it. I know, it’s difficult,” said Dr. Durrani.
The surgeons said if you feel intense pain that doesn’t go away, especially during the holidays with a lot of eating, don’t wait for it to get worse; go right to your doctor or the hospital. They also said alcohol could worsen these issues, so just be aware as the holiday parties continue through the month.
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