What is Gallbladder Surgery
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) removes the gallbladder and gallstones through several small cuts (incisions) in the abdomen. The surgeon inflates your abdomen with air or carbon dioxide to see clearly.
The surgeon inserts a light scope connected to a video camera (laparoscope) into an incision near the belly button. The surgeon then uses a video monitor as a guide to insert surgical instruments into other incisions to remove your gallbladder.
Before the surgeon removes the gallbladder, you may have a special X-ray procedure called intraoperative collagenography, which shows the anatomy of the bile ducts.
You will need general anesthesia for this surgery, which usually lasts 2 hours or less.
After surgery, bile flows from the liver (where it is formed) through the common bile duct and into the small intestine. Because the gallbladder has been removed, the body cannot store bile between meals. In most people, it has little or no effect on digestion.
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is the best method of treatment for gallstones that causes symptoms unless there is a reason that surgery should not be performed.
Laparoscopic surgery is most commonly used when no factors are present that can complicate surgery.
After Gallbladder Surgery
You may have gallbladder surgery as an outpatient, or you may stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days.
Most people can return to their normal activities in 7 to 10 days. People who have laparoscopic gallbladder surgery have pain for about a week. But at 2 to 3 weeks they have much less discomfort than those with open surgery. No special diet or other precautions are required after surgery.
How Gallbladder Surgery Works
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is safe and effective. The surgery relieves gallstones located in the gallbladder. It does not remove stones in the common bile duct. After removing the gallbladder, gallstones can form in the common bile duct, although this is rare.
Gallbladder Surgery Risk
The overall risk of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is very low. The most serious potential complications include:
- Infection of an incision.
- Internal bleeding.
- Injury to the common bile duct.
- Injury to the small intestine by one of the instruments used during surgery.
- Risks of general anesthesia.
Other uncommon complications may include:
- Gallstones that remain in the abdominal cavity.
- Bile that leaks into the abdominal cavity.
- Injury to abdominal blood vessels, such as the major blood vessel carrying blood from the heart to the liver (hepatic artery). This is rare.
- A gallstone being pushed into the common bile duct.
- The liver being cut.
- More surgery may be needed to repair these complications.
After gallbladder surgery, some people have ongoing abdominal symptoms, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea (postcholecystectomy syndrome).
Think About Gallbladder Surgery
Recovery after laparoscopic surgery after open surgery is much faster and less painful.
Hospitalization after laparoscopic surgery is less than that after open surgery. People usually go home the same day or the next day, while open surgery takes 2 to 4 days or more.
Recovery is faster after laparoscopic surgery.
You will spend less time with work and other activities after laparoscopic surgery (about 7 to 10 days compared to 4 to 6 weeks).