What is cholecystectomy?
Cholecystectomy is surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is an organ that stores bile used in food digestion. The gallbladder is located under the liver. Sometimes gallstones that block the normal flow of bile to the small intestine can form in the gall bladder and cause pancreatitis, a dangerous condition. When pancreatitis occurs or gallbladder cancer is suspected, the gallbladder is removed.
The most common method of gallbladder removal is Laparoscopic cholecystectomy – a procedure in which a thin flexible tube with a tiny video camera on the end is inserted into your side and other instruments extract the gallbladder. Another common method of gallbladder removal is a procedure known as “open cholecystectomy. In an open procedure, your doctor will make an incision in your abdomen to remove the gallbladder. The open procedure is usually advised over the laparascopic method when cancer is diagnosed.
Who are candidates for Laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Gallbladder removal may be performed to treat the following conditions:
- Gallbladder disease
- Infection or inflammation (cholecystitis)
- Gallbladder cancer
- Biliary dyskinesia (abnormal gallbladder function)
What is the Laparoscopic cholecystectomy recovery process?
Gallbladder removal is a major abdominal operation and you may experience pain nausea and vomiting after surgery. Recovery from the procedure varies depending on the general health of the patient. With laparoscopic surgery:
- You may leave the hospital the same day following gallbladder removal.
- Walking is encouraged though any activity depends on how you feel. You can return to driving and work usually within a couple of days.
- You should avoid heavy lifting for a while.
For open surgery, recovery may be a little slower, but you should expect to return to your normal routine within a week to 10 days.
For either procedure, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following after surgery:
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Worsening abdominal pain
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Drainage from the incision
Make an appointment with your doctor within two weeks following your operation.
What are alternatives to Laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Non-surgical treatments may be used to treat gallstones in cases where you have a serious medical condition that would prevent surgery. Some drugs can be used to dissolve stones but they only work in a certain number of patients and their effect is temporary. Open and laparoscopic surgery is considered among some of the safest surgical procedures because of improved surgical technique, better anesthesia, and management of coexisting diseases. Fortunately, the gallbladder is an organ that people can live without.