Gallbladder Surgery (Cholecystectomy)
Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove gallbladder, commonly known as gallbladder surgery. Gall bladder is a small pear shaped organ located just below the stomach. It stores bile, a digestive fluid that helps to break down fatty foods.
Conditions that require gall bladder surgery include, severe gall stones, cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation), and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) secondary to gallstones, gallbladder cancer, and chronic acalculous gallbladder disease.
Gallstones are the most commonly occurring disorder of the gallbladder. Some of the common symptoms of gallstones are pain, fever, jaundice, vomiting, and nausea. If the symptoms worsen your condition, then your doctor will suggest either for cholecystectomy, which is performed laparoscopically or through open surgery. Cholecystectomy procedure is also recommended to remove gallstones in the gallbladder and bile duct. The procedure also treats inflammation of the pancreas and gallbladder. It is the only procedure to prevent the gall stones.
Cholecystectomy may be performed using open surgical technique or minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedure. In open surgical technique, gall bladder is removed through a large incision on the upper right part of the abdomen. Minimally invasive procedure is performed using laparoscope which is a pen-like device attached with tiny camera and lens and it enables to view the larger images on video screen. Laparoscopy is much less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments, and tissues than the traditional method of surgically opening the abdomen with long incisions.
Open or traditional surgery: This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, and your surgeon makes a single large incision in your abdomen. Surgical instruments are inserted through this incision, muscles and tissues are pulled apart to expose liver and gallbladder, and then the gallbladder is removed. Later the incision is sutured and you need to be in the hospital for almost 2 weeks, after which you will be able to go home.
Laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery: In this procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen. Through one of the incisions a laparoscope, a small fibre-optic tube with a tiny camera, is inserted into the abdomen. Special surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions to remove the gallbladder. Through this approach, your surgeon will be able to view the surgery on a large screen.
During this procedure, cholangiography (X-ray of the bile duct) is taken to look bile duct for any abnormalities. And if your surgeon finds stones in the bile duct, they can also be removed.
Some of the possible complications after cholecystectomy include bleeding, blood clots, wound infection, bile leakage into the abdomen, and injury to the bile duct, intestine, and blood vessels. However, these complications are mild and can be treated.
Advantages of laparoscopic surgery over open surgery
Laparoscopic surgery requires minimal recovery time, shorter hospital stay, and less pain and discomfort after surgery.
Open surgery requires longer hospital stay and recovery time and requires longer time to operate, and causes a large scar.
Post-operative instructions after gall bladder surgery
- Use of medical device called an incentive spirometer for breathing and to keep the lungs working
- You will be helped getting out of bed and walking
- Eat a normal light diet
- Return to light work in 3 to 4 days
- Avoid strenuous activities for few days
- Medications to control pain
- You will be asked to wear pressure stockings on the legs to prevent formation of blood clot
Complications of gall bladder surgery
The most common complication associated with the cholecystectomy surgery is bile duct injury, causing leakage of bile secretions causing pain and infection. Other complications may include excessive bleeding, damage to organs, abnormal reaction to anaesthesia and development of blood clots. Gall bladder removal does not cause nutritional deficiencies and does not require any special diet after the surgery.
Bile duct cancer is uncommon and is mostly referred to as cholangiocarcinoma. Biliary tract surgery is mostly done for cancer and may necessitate removal of parts of the liver or pancreas.