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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Surgery at Our Los Angles Center

Your Gallbladder

Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that holds bile, a substance the liver makes to facilitate fat digestion. When you eat a meal high in fats, your liver may signal your gallbladder to release bile. However, stones can form in the gallbladder, which can keep bile from freely flowing out of the gallbladder. If this occurs, you can experience uncomfortable symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion, jaundice and fever in certain circumstances. You may notice the pain worsens when you eat fatty foods. These symptoms can indicate the need for cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal.

In addition to gallstones, additional reasons for gallbladder removal include:

  • Gallstones in the bile duct
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis)

 

While your body uses the gallbladder when you eat foods high in fat, you can live without your gallbladder.

Gallbladder Removal Types

Two approaches to gallbladder removal exist: traditional open cholecystectomy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Both procedures involve being placed under general anesthesia, which is a deep sleep that ensures you will not feel or remember any part of the surgical procedure. Open cholecystectomy is a procedure that involves making a large abdominal incision to access the gallbladder. While this surgery is effective in gallbladder removal, the larger incision increases your risk for bleeding and makes for a longer recovery time.

The laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure that involves making smaller abdominal incisions. Your surgeon first fills the abdominal cavity with gas to allow for improved visualization of your stomach contents. A special camera at the end of a flexible tube is attached and small instruments are inserted. Your surgeon separates the gallbladder from the bile duct and removes the gallbladder. Imaging scans are taken to determine if more stones are stuck in the bile duct where the bile flows out. If stones are located in the bile duct, your surgeon will attempt to remove them using a scope. The surgeon then removes all instruments and tiny sutures are applied to close up the incisions.

In some instances, your physician may need to switch from a laparoscopic procedure to an open one. This occurs in about five to 10 out of 100 laparoscopic surgeries.

Minimizing Gallbladder Removal Risk

Surgeons at miVIP Surgery Centers are trained in both open and laparoscopic gallbladder surgery procedures. Laparoscopic gallbladder removal offers distinct benefits over open surgery, however. These include:

  • Reduced infection risk
  • Reduced bleeding risk
  • Smaller, less noticeable, amount of scarring
  • Less length-of-stay post-surgery

 

Open surgical procedures typically involve a hospital stay of two to four days while laparoscopic surgical procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Following laparoscopic surgery, you can typically return to work and activities after seven to 10 days while open surgery requires a much longer recovery period of four to six weeks.

Both procedures carry the risk for damage to internal organs, such as the intestines, stomach and bile duct damage. Always let your physician know if you experience signs of post-surgical complications, which includes:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Drainage from incisions
  • Nausea or vomiting that does not subside with time
  • Sudden death
  • Strong abdominal pain
  • Redness that worsens with time

 

You should experience reduced discomfort due to gallstones following laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. However, you can expect to feel some post-surgery pain and experience mild diarrhea that should subside with time.

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