The gallbladder is a small abdominal organ that functions to store bile made by the liver. The gallbladder aids in digestion by sending bile to the small intestine to dissolve proteins, oils and fats that we eat. Although it works to aid digestion, problems with the gallbladder do not usually lead to diminished digestion.
Problems with the Gallbladder
The most common gallbladder affliction is gallstones. The presence of gallstones consists of small, hard masses made of cholesterol and bile salts that can block the movement of bile out of the gallbladder. This results in sharp abdominal pain, indigestion, vomiting, occasionally fever and Jaundice.
Diagnosis and treatment
A doctor will use ultrasound or x-ray to diagnose gallstones. A patient may find some relief from symptoms with medication or dietary changes, but they will not cure the gallstones. Gallbladder removal surgery is widely regarded at the safest and most effective treatment of gallbladder disease.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
For most patients gallbladder surgery can be performed using laparoscopic technique. The advantages to a laparoscopic approach are minimized recovery time, less post-operative pain, and less visible scarring. The surgeon will use four very small incisions in the abdomen and the patient is usually discharged within one day.
The patient will be administered general anesthesia and the surgeon will use a laparoscope connected to a special camera to see a clear internal view. The surgeon will carefully separate the gallbladder and remove it. The patient will also be checked for additional gallstones that may have formed in the bile duct, and if any are found the surgeon may remove them with a special scope or schedule another procedure for their removal.
In a small number of cases, laparoscopic technique may not be an option and a traditional open surgery will need to be performed. This is typically due to medical history or other conditions that make open surgery a safer choice.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a very common and safe surgery that can usually be performed as an outpatient procedure. After surgery, the patient will be prescribed pain medication and will be given post-operative instructions. Most patients can resume regular activities in one week. As with any surgery, there are risks and considerations. The surgeons at Texas Laparoscopic Consultants, a partner of Nobilis Health, are highly skilled and have performed thousands of laparoscopic procedures. Please contact us for more information about laparoscopic gallbladder removal.
The TLC Surgery Doctors have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.