Cholecystectomy, otherwise known as gallbladder removal surgery, is one of the most common surgeries that adults of all ages end up having.
Not all adults will need this surgery, however inevitably some will thanks to genetic and environmental factors.
But how do you know if you need gallbladder removal surgery, and when is gallbladder surgery necessary?
The gallbladder is an organ located in your abdomen, on the upper right part. Its function is to store bile. Bile is produced by the liver and is used to help digest fats.
The gallbladder is not a vital organ. It can be removed safely and with relatively few complications or lifelong consequences.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a standard procedure for the treatment of gallstones. Gallstones are hardened collections of bile consisting of cholesterol and bilirubin which can stay in the gallbladder.
They generally do not cause problems except for some minor pain. However, gallstones can cause severe problems. They can obstruct bile flow and cause the gallbladder to be irritated.
The following symptoms may indicate gallbladder problems:
● Sharp abdominal pain
However, these symptoms are common to a wide range of ailments, so it’s important to see your doctor so they can assess whether or not gallstones are likely to be the problem.
Most cholecystectomies are laparoscopic procedures. This means that the surgery is performed through a series of small incisions and a laparoscope is put in so that the surgeon can see the inside of the abdomen.
The procedure starts with a few small incisions. The laparoscope is inserted in one of the incisions, and several other medical instruments are inserted in the others in order to perform the surgery. The belly is expanded with gas in order to have more room to perform the surgery. Then, the actual removal takes place. After the gallbladder is removed, the small incisions are stitched up.
Some gallbladder removal surgeries are done the traditional way, with a single larger incision made in the abdomen. However, this takes longer to recover from and is not preferred by most surgeons due to the advantages of the laparoscopic procedure.
Gallbladder surgery is quick to recover from. Most people are out of the hospital the next day, if not the same day. Patients typically can return to all regular activities after two weeks. Your doctor will recommend you stay home for a length of time depending on your condition.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a relatively safe and highly standardized procedure. Thanks to the advances of laparoscopic surgery, the risks have been lowered considerably.
Bile leakage can occur, which requires intervention. Hernias may also appear at the surgery site, and depending on the severity may need to be fixed. Other possible complications include bleeding, infection, and blood clots; however, these complications are common to most surgeries.