Biliary colic

A severe pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen that is usually caused by the gallbladder’s attempts to expel gallstones or by the movement of a stone in the bile ducts. The pain may be felt in the right shoulder (see referred pain) or may penetrate to the centre of the back. Episodes of biliary colic often last for several hours and may recur, particularly after meals. Injections of an analgesic drug and an antispasmodic drug may be given to relieve the colic. Tests such as cholecystography or ultrasound scanning can confirm the presence of gallstones, in which case cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder) is possible.


Online Medical Dictionary: Your essential reference to over 5000 medical terms.