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Twin Symptoms
November 2002

Q. What is your opinion on identical twins getting the same diseases? I have an identical twin sister with chronic pancreatitis that was caused by biliary sludge and stones from her gallbladder going up into the pancreas duct and scaring it closed. I recently had gallbladder sludge and stones and had my gallbladder removed. She is on a morphine pump for chronic pain now and has had 2/3 of her pancreas removed at Mayo Clinic because of the chronic pancreatitis disease. What are the chances that I will have the same problems my twin does?

A. Gallstones are a common problem, and often other members of the family have had gallbladder problems, so a hereditary factor may play a role. The serious complications you describe affecting your sister are quite unusual and they are not so likely to have a hereditary component. In most cases gallbladder removal can be done by laparoscopic surgery which is faster, safer, and has much quicker recovery time than a more extensive surgical procedure. Most patients have an uneventful recovery after surgery, without significant problems remaining.

http://www.gastro.org/public/gallstones.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000273.htm

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