Simple though it may sound, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is not innocuous. In fact, it has been associated with a higher than usual rate of injury to the bile duct. WATCHFUL WAITING is the appropriate course when gallstones are present, but there are no severe symptoms. SURGERY MAY BE NEEDED when stones cause symptoms like indigestion, nausea, vomiting and belching; episodes of abdominal pain as stones pass through ducts, or biliary colic, may also occur. For patients who cannot or will not have surgery, oral medication may be appropriate. SURGERY IS NEEDED when a gallstone blocks the bile duct, producing severe pain, jaundice and sometimes infection.