Gallbladder Removal2022-10-31T21:38:38+10:30

Gallbladder Removal (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy)

In the early 1990s cholecystectomy became one of the first common general surgical operations to be performed laparoscopically. At the time it was a major advancement, and despite some skeptics at the time, has become the Gold Standard for treatment of gallstone related disease.

It is now performed by most general surgeons and is one of the best examples of how a laparoscopic approach can reduce post operative pain, hospital stay and recovery compared to its open equivalent. Most patients will have 4 small incisions, and spend one night in hospital. Recovery is quick with most patients being able to return to work after a week. There is one instance where a patient had there gallbladder removed laparoscopically and ran a marathon the following week.

Most patients want to know what will happen to them without there gallbladder and why we don’t just remove the stones. The gallbladders main function is to store and concentrate bile produced in the liver.

Bile aids in digestion by acting as a detergent which breaks down fat particles so they can be absorbed. Without a gallbladder about a third of patients may have mild indigestion if they eat food with a lot of fat in it, especially if they eat large quantities quickly. If the surgeon was to just remove the stones and leave the gallbladder in place then many patients would form more stones and end up with the same problem they had in the first place.

As we can survive happily without a gallbladder save for some intolerance to fat which is not necessary a bad thing it is much better to remove the gallbladder. Generally it would be said that laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a very safe procedure in the hands of an experienced laparoscopic surgeon. Specific risks will be discussed with you prior to surgery.

Advantages

• Performed laparoscopically

• Fast recovery and short hospital stay

Gallstones

Gallstones form when bile the liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens or precipitates into pieces of stone-like material. Risk factors for developing gallstones include being female, increasing age, pregnancy, obesity, and rapid weight loss.

Most people with gallstone’s do not have any symptoms. When symptoms do develop the most common presentation is pain typically in the upper abdomen especially on the right side. Pain maybe associated with nausea or vomiting and often comes on following a meal. Attacks of pain which are short lived are known as Biliary colic. If pain is prolonged and inflammation of the gallbladder occurs this is known as cholecystitis.

Gallstones can be diagnosed on an ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of organs and is the most sensitive way of diagnosing gallstones. Other tests that maybe used include CT, MRI, and HIDA scans. Occasionally a special endoscopic examination known as an ERCP is performed if it is suspected that the gallstones have moved into the ducts that drain the liver.

Generally if patients with gallstones have related symptoms and they are fit enough for surgery they should undergo a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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