Gall Bladder Removal
A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. This small organ is adjacent to the liver and responsible for storing bile and emptying it into the intestine. While important, the gallbladder is nonessential. When removed, bile simply empties directly into the intestine from the liver, continuing the digestive process as usual.
Many people require gallbladder removal for acute or chronic conditions. Blockages often occur in the gallbladder, causing inflammation and the formation of gallstones. Without treatment, this can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and other complications. Gallbladder removal immediately relieves these symptoms, allowing a patient to experience improved quality of life.
Did you know that gallbladder removal is one of the most frequently performed operations throughout the U.S.? More than 600,000 gallbladder surgeries are performed every year – the vast majority of them laparoscopically. In fact, today’s minimally invasive techniques make the procedure safer and more effective than ever before with a very low risk of serious complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a candidate for gallbladder removal?
There are several conditions that may indicate the need for gallbladder removal, some of which include inflammation of the pancreas and gallbladder. Other conditions include a bile duct blockage, as well as defective filling or emptying of bile within the gallbladder. A common sign of a gallbladder problem is sharp pain in the upper abdomen that radiates into the right side of the body – particularly the shoulder and back.
What happens during gallbladder surgery?
Gallbladder removal is performed in an inpatient setting under general anesthesia. The entire procedure typically takes just 2 hours or less in the average patient. During laparoscopic surgery, small instruments are inserted through tiny incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon uses these instruments as well as a lighted camera to carry out the procedure and remove the gallbladder with as little scarring and bleeding as possible. This leads to a faster recovery, less post-operative pain, and a lower risk of complications.
How long does it take to recover from gallbladder removal?
If you have your gallbladder removed laparoscopically, expect to spend a couple of days in the hospital. You will go home to finish recovering, taking at least a week off before returning to work or school. In most cases, soreness begins to subside at this time, gradually improving over the course of a month.