Scientists are looking for more effective non-surgical treatments for gallbladder disease.
Drugs that dissolve gallstones quickly could reduce the need for surgery. Other research is under way on the prevention of gallstones.
Genes that children inherit from their parents may be a factor in many gallstone cases. If scientists can identify these abnormal genes, it would pave the way for gene therapy to replace the defective gene with a normal copy.
Meanwhile, research is under way on new surgical methods that are even less invasive than laparoscopic operations. These methods would involve use of mini-surgical instruments that further reduce the discomfort and recovery time for patients.