What Is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
removal is a minimally invasive surgery in which small incisions
and specialized tools are used to remove a diseased or infected gallbladder.
The gallbladder is
a small organ located near your liver. It stores bile, which is a liquid produced in the liver. The
gallbladder releases bile into the small bowel to help break down fats.
Normal digestion is possible without a gallbladder. Removal is a
treatment option if it becomes diseased or infected.
Laparoscopic removal is the most common type of gallbladder
removal surgery. It’s formally known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Why Is a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Performed?
The main reason for having a gallbladder removed is the presence
of gallstones and the complications they cause.
The presence of gallstones
is called cholelithiasis. Gallstones form inside the gallbladder from
substances in the bile that become solid. They can be as small as a grain of
sand and as large as a golf ball.
You might also need this type of surgery if you have the
dyskinesia, which occurs when the gallbladder doesn’t fill or empty
correctly due to a defect
which occurs when gallstones move to the bile duct and potentially cause a blockage
that prevents the gallbladder from draining
which is an inflammation of the gallbladder
which is an inflammation of the pancreas
Laparoscopic surgery is preferred over open surgery because the
smaller incisions that are made reduce your risk of infection, bleeding, and
The Risks of a Laparoscopic Gallbladder
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is considered safe. The
complication rate is less than 2
Every surgical procedure carries some risks, but they’re rare.
Your doctor will perform a complete physical examination and review your
medical history before the procedure. This will help minimize these risks.
The risks of laparoscopic gallbladder removal include:
- allergic reaction to anesthesia or other drugs
- blood clots
- damage to blood vessels
- heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate
- injury to the bile duct or small intestine
How to Prepare for a Laparoscopic Gallbladder
You’ll undergo several tests beforehand to ensure that you’re
healthy enough for the procedure. These will include:
- blood tests
- imaging tests of your gallbladder
- a complete physical
- a review of your medical history
Tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications, including
over-the-counter medicines or nutritional supplements. You may have to stop
taking certain medications before surgery. Also, tell your doctor if you’re
pregnant or think you could be pregnant.
Your doctor will give you complete instructions about preparing
for surgery. This could include:
- arranging for a ride home
- having someone to stay with you immediately
- drinking a prescription solution that flushes
out your bowels
- not eating or drinking anything for four hours
or more before surgery
- planning for a hospital stay in case of
- showering using a special antibacterial soap
How a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Is
Before beginning the procedure, you’ll change into a hospital
gown. You’ll be given an IV so your doctor can give you medications and fluids through
your vein. You’ll be under general anesthesia, which means you’ll be in a painless
sleep before and during the surgery.
Your surgeon will make four small incisions in your abdomen.
Through these incisions, they’ll guide a tube with a small, lighted camera
through your abdomen. Watching the video through a monitor, your doctor will
guide other tools through the holes in your abdomen.
Your abdomen will be inflated with gas so your surgeon has space
to work. They’ll remove your gallbladder through these holes.
After your gallbladder has been removed, your surgeon will use a
special X-ray to check for problems in your bile duct. This technique is called
abnormalities in the bile duct may be removed.
When your surgeon is satisfied with the results, the openings
will be stitched up and bandaged properly. After the procedure, you’ll be
brought to a room to recover from the anesthesia. Your vital signs will be
monitored the entire time.
Most people can go home the day of the surgery.
After a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
The symptoms after the gallbladder removal surgery are mild and
rare, but you may experience some diarrhea.
Walking is usually encouraged as soon as you’re feeling better.
Your doctor will instruct you about when you’ll be ready for most normal
activities. Full recovery typically takes a week.
You’ll be in charge of caring for your incision wounds while you
recover. This includes washing them properly. Most people can shower the day
Your doctor will remove the stitches at a follow-up appointment.