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Gallbladder Surgery

Gallbladder removal is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States. Gallbladder surgery is almost always performed laparoscopically. The medical name for this procedure is Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy.

How is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Performed?

The video below demonstrates the technique of laparosocpic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). The gallbladder is the white round structure in the middle of the screen. In order to remove the gallbladder, the cystic artery, which supplies blood to the gallbladder, and the cystic duct, which drained bile from the gallbladder, need to be identified, clipped with titanium staples, and then divided. After this occurs, the gallbladder is them removed off the liver and removed from the abdomen (belly).

  • Under general anesthesia, so the patient is asleep throughout the procedure.
  • The surgery is performed through 4 small incisions surgeon
  • A laparoscope (a tiny telescope) connected to a special camera is inserted through one incision so that the surgery may be performed on a video screen
  • Through the three other incisions, instruments are inserted in order to remove the gallbladder from the liver and remove it from your abdomen through one of the openings.
  • Sometimes, a cholangiogram (an X-ray performed during the surgery) is performed to identify stones, which may be located in the bile channels, or to insure that structures have been identified.

What should I expect after Gallbladder Surgery?

  • Gallbladder removal is a major abdominal operation and a certain amount of postoperative pain occurs. Nausea and vomiting are common.
  • Most, patients leave the hospital the same day
  • Activity is dependent on how the patient feels. Walking is encouraged.
  • Patients will probably be able to return to normal activities within a week’s time, including driving, walking up stairs, light lifting and working.
  • In general, recovery should be progressive, once the patient is at home.
  • Most patients can return to work within seven days following the laparoscopic procedure depending on the nature of your job. Patients with administrative or desk jobs usually return in a few days while those involved in manual labor or heavy lifting may require a bit more time.

What will happen after it’s Removed?

  • After surgery, there are no special dietary requirements. You will be able to eat all types of food. Some people actually gain weight after surgery because now they are able to eat foods that they avoided before surgery.

What happens if the operation cannot be performed or completed by the Laparoscopic method?

In a small number of patients the laparoscopic method cannot be performed. Factors that may increase the possibility of choosing or converting to the “open” procedure may include obesity, a history of prior abdominal surgery causing dense scar tissue, inability to visualize organs or bleeding problems during the operation.

The decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment decision made either before or during the actual operation. When it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather sound surgical judgment. The decision to convert to an open procedure is strictly based on patient safety.

What Complications can occur?

While there are risks associated with any kind of operation, the vast majority of laparoscopic gallbladder patients experience few or no complications and quickly return to normal activities

Complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy are infrequent, but include

  • Bleeding
  • Infection.
  • Unintended injury to adjacent structures such as the common bile duct or small bowel may occur and may require another surgical procedure to repair it
  • Bile leakage into the abdomen from the tubular channels leading from the liver to the intestine may rarely occur

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