What are the different stages of gallstone disease (cholelithiasis)?

Updated: Apr 01, 2019
  • Author: Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Gallstone disease may be thought of as having the following four stages:

  1. The lithogenic state, in which conditions favor gallstone formation

  2. Asymptomatic gallstones

  3. Symptomatic gallstones, characterized by episodes of biliary colic

  4. Complicated cholelithiasis

Symptoms and complications of gallstone disease result from effects occurring within the gallbladder or from stones that escape the gallbladder to lodge in the common bile duct.

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