Gallbladder surgery is one of the most commonly performed laparoscopic surgical procedures. Gallbladder surgery is usually performed with minimally invasive techniques and the medical name for this procedure is Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy.
The gallbladder is situated on the undersurface of the liver on the upper right side of your abdomen. Its main purpose is to collect and concentrate bile produced by the liver.
A cholecystectomy may be necessary if you experience pain from gallstones that block the flow of bile.
We perform the cholecystectomy by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder, This is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy a tube with a tiny video camera is inserted into your abdomen through one of the incisions. Your surgeon watches a video monitor in the operating room while using surgical tools inserted through the other incisions in your abdomen to remove your gallbladder.
Then your incisions are sutured, and you’re taken to a recovery area. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes one or two hours.
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy isn’t appropriate for everyone. In some cases your surgeon may begin with a laparoscopic approach and find it necessary to make a larger incision because of scar tissue from previous operations or complications. This is called an open cholecystectomy.
A cholecystectomy is performed to treat gallstones and the complications they cause. We recommend a cholecystectomy if you have:
- Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
- Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
- Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
- Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) due to gallstones
A cholecystectomy carries a small risk of complications including:
- Bile leak
- Blood clots
- Heart problems
- Injury to nearby structures, such as the bile duct, liver and small intestine
Your risk of complications depends on your overall health and the reason for your cholecystectomy.
How you prepare
To prepare for a cholecystectomy, we ask you to:
- The night before your surgery ou may eat a sup and drink water with your medications, but avoid eating and drinking at least four hours before your surgery.
- Stop taking certain medications and supplements. Tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you take. Continue taking most medications as prescribed.
Prepare for your recovery
Plan ahead for your recovery after surgery. For instance:
- Plan for a hospital stay. Most people go home the same day of their cholecystectomy, but complications can occur that require one or more nights in the hospital so we prefer you stay in the hospital for one night. We suggest you to bring personal items, such as your toothbrush, comfortable clothing, and books or magazines to pass the time.
- Find someone to drive you home and stay with you.
After a cholecystectomy
How quickly you can return to normal activities after a cholecystectomy depends on which procedure your surgeon uses and your overall health. People undergoing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be able to go back to work in a matter of days. Those undergoing an open cholecystectomy may need a week or more to recover enough to return to work.