Gallbladder Removal

Gallbladder removal, medically known as Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, has become one of the most performed surgical procedures in the United States.

This innovative approach to gallbladder surgery offers numerous benefits and has transformed the treatment of gallbladder disease, which includes gallstones.

What is the Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a small organ located under the right side of the liver. Its primary role is to store and concentrate bile, a digestive liquid produced by the liver.

Stored bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine to aid digestion by breaking down fats.

The gallbladder helps digestion, but if it has problems, it can be taken out without affecting digestion for most people.

What Causes Gallbladder Problems?


Gallbladder issues are usually caused by gallstones.

Gallstones are small, hard masses made of cholesterol and bile salts. These stones can develop in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

While it remains uncertain why some individuals develop gallstones, there is no known way to prevent them.

Gallstones can block the flow of bile, causing swelling or inflammation of the gallbladder.

This can lead to symptoms such as sharp abdominal pain called biliary colic, vomiting, indigestion, and sometimes fever.

When a gallstone obstructs the common bile duct, it can result in jaundice or a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Biliary Dyskinesia

This is another gallbladder condition that occurs when the bile duct fails to contract correctly.

This can be an issue with the contracting muscle of the bile duct or a related part of the organ.

This is a functional disorder, meaning it is caused by a muscle or organ issue rather than a mechanical blockage like a gallstone.

When the gallbladder can’t properly release bile, it can lead to swelling, infections, inflammation, and pain.

Biliary dyskinesia may display the same symptoms as gallstones.


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Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gallstones are solid, pebble-like deposits that can develop in the gallbladder. Although small, they can cause severe pain and discomfort. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of gallstones.

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Advantages of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy:

  • Minimally Invasive: Laparoscopic surgery involves putting a laparoscope (a small tube with a camera) and surgical instruments through small incisions in the abdomen. This approach reduces the need for large surgical incisions, minimizing wound size.
  • Enhanced Visualization: The laparoscope provides real-time images of the internal organs, enabling surgeons to manipulate and remove the gallbladder with precision.
  • Shorter Recovery Time: Patients generally experience less pain, reduced scarring, and a shorter recovery period compared to open surgery. Most patients can return home the same day and can resume normal activities within a few weeks.

The Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Procedure

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy involves making a small incision just below the navel and filling the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide gas to create space.

The camera is inserted through the incision, providing a clear view of the internal organs on a specialized screen.

More small incisions are made below the ribs to accommodate the other surgical instruments.

These instruments are used to manipulate and remove the gallbladder.

While the duration of surgery can vary, it typically lasts around 90 minutes.

Recovery After Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

The recovery process after laparoscopic cholecystectomy is generally straightforward. Patients often experience minimal post-operative pain, side effects, and reduced scarring.

While some may make dietary adjustments, the majority of patients adapt well to life without their gallbladder.

With proper recovery, the digestive system will function normally without the gallbladder.

Are You a Candidate for Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?

Laparoscopy may not be suitable for patients with previous upper abdominal surgery or certain medical conditions, despite its numerous advantages.

Your doctor and a laparoscopy surgeon can decide if laparoscopic gallbladder removal is right for you after a thorough medical evaluation.

If you think you have gallbladder problems or have symptoms, talk to a doctor to find the best treatment for you.