It is the surgical removal of the gallbladder with a minimally invasive procedure using a special medical instrument called a Laparoscope. Also known as Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, in medical terms.
In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions – around an inch wide – in the patient’s abdomen. The gastro surgeon uses a laparoscope i.e., a flexible tube with a camera and light, to view inside the patient’s stomach – images of which are displayed on a monitor outside – and remove the gallbladder.
This modern technique is called a minimally invasive procedure since the procedure involves making only small incisions as opposed to open Cholecystectomy where one large incision is required to perform the surgery.
What is Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver, on the right side of the stomach. It plays an important role in the digestive system by storing the bile produced by the liver and releasing this bile that aid in food digestion.
For more details check here: What is Gallbladder?
The stoppage and release of the bile from the gallbladder are controlled by a small valve that opens and closes upon contraction. The bile is squeezed through the biliary ducts and into the duodenum where the food is waiting to be digested. Bile helps in breaking down fats from the food into fatty acids.
Why is the doctor recommending a gallbladder removal?
A doctor will recommend gallbladder removal when gallstones are found in the gallbladder and are the cause of pain and infection.
Gallstones are small stones found on the inside of the gallbladder that cause blockages in the flow of bile into the bile ducts causing severe pain and inflammation.
How to prepare for the surgery?
The patient may be asked to refrain from taking any fluids or food for some hours before the surgery. The hospital staff will take a note of any medication that the patient is already taking for other diseases if any.
The patient will have to undergo certain blood and urine tests before the surgery and the results will have to be shared with the surgeon performing the operation.
That’s all the patient needs to do before the surgery.
What happens during the gallbladder removal surgery?
Gallbladder removal is a minor surgery that may take one to two hours, depending on what the doctor finds once he has had a look inside the stomach.
Once the patient is taken into the OT (operation theatre), he will be given general anesthesia that will put him to sleep for the rest of the procedure. The patient does not feel any pain or remember the surgery under the effects of anesthesia.
The gastro surgeon will make an incision on the patient’s stomach, insert the tube with a laparoscope and remove the gallbladder. The incisions will then be closed with surgical stitches or surgical staples/clips. During the entire procedure, the anesthesiologist and his team will continuously keep checking on the patient’s vital signs.
How long does the patient need to stay at the hospital?
The hospital stay for a patient is usually dependent on a case-to-case basis. However, laparoscopic gallbladder surgery does not require the patient to be kept in the hospital for more than a couple of days.
During this time, the nursing team will take care of the patient’s medications and keep checking his incisions for signs of infection.
Will the patient have to take extra precautions after gallbladder removal?
After the surgery, the patient’s digestive system will take some time to get adjusted to a new way of working without the gallbladder. The patient may experience temporary side effects to the way his body processes fatty foods which can lead to symptoms like diarrhoea, excessive gas, bloating, and cramping after eating food.
He will have to follow, like in any other surgery, the general precautions of not lifting heavy things, drinking lots of fluids, eating healthy (non-fatty items), and slowly getting back to his feet.
But these side effects are temporary and most patients do not even have these symptoms. Fortunately, gallbladder removal does not cause any disturbance to the patient’s routine life after recovering from the gallbladder surgery.
How soon can the patient get back to work after gallbladder surgery?
The recovery from gallbladder surgery is fast, especially in the case of laparoscopic surgery.
Returning to the office, work and driving should not need more than 7 to 10 days in case there are no complications.