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Gallbladder

Minimally Invasive and Bariatrics Surgery practice has been performing laparoscopic cholecystectomies for years and is well-versed in this form of laparoscopic surgery. Cholecystectomy refers to the surgical removal of the gallbladder. We believe that if possible, it is often better to pursue laparoscopic or Robotic procedures rather than open surgery because of an improved patient experience with minimally invasive procedures. With these approaches pain is significantly reduced while expediting recovery and return to work and regular activities.

What is the Gallbladder? What Causes Gallbladder Problems?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ housed beneath the right side of the liver. The purpose of the gallbladder is collecting and concentrating liver bile. Bile is released by the gallbladder after eating to aid digestion.

Removal of the gallbladder is not associated with any impairment of digestion in most people.

Gallbladder problems are most often caused by the presence of gallstones. Gallstones are small balls consisting of cholesterol and bile salts. There are no known means to prevent the development of gallstones. Gallstones may block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder, causing swelling and possible abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion, and occasionally fever. If the gallstone blocks the common bile duct or irritates the pancreas in its passage, patients risk jaundice and more extreme symptoms including severe infection, inflammation of the pancreas, and death.

How are Gallbladder Problems Found and Fixed?

The most common means used to discover gallstones is an Ultrasound. However, in more complex cases x-ray and CT scans or a gallbladder nuclear medicine scan may be used.

Gallstones do not go away on their own. Symptoms will continue unless the gallbladder is removed which is where most gallstones form. Treatments to break-up or dissolve gallstones are largely unsuccessful and lead to patient disappointment when the formation of gallstones continue.

Surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most proven and time-tested means for improving patient health and quality of life.

What is Gallbladder Removal Surgery? (Laparoscopic or Robotic Cholecystectomy)

Gallbladder removal is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Gallbladder removal surgery is usually performed with minimally-invasive techniques. This form of gallbladder removal surgery is known as “laparoscopic cholecystectomy.” Robotic cholecystectomy is another form of minimally-invasive gallbladder surgery performed by the Minimally Invasive and Bariatrics practice. There are no significant differences between robotic and laparoscopic cholecystectomy in terms of pain and recovery.

     

    What are the Advantages of Minimally Invasive Surgery vs. Open Surgery?

    1. There is a noticeable difference in the size of incision and scars. Open surgery leaves a 5 to 7 inch, while the laparoscopic surgery requires only three or four small openings in the abdomen smaller than 1 cm.
    2. As with the post-procedure scarring, the amount of pain post-procedure for the patient is lesser for the laparoscopic surgery.
    3. Patients experience a faster recovery with laparoscopic surgery than with open surgery.
    4. Patients are much more likely to go home the same day of the surgery and enjoy a quicker return to normal activities.
    5. Patients are less likely to have undesired wound related problems such as infections and hernias.

    Are You a Candidate for Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?

    Most patients qualify for laparoscopic gallbladder removal. However, in rare instances some may not. If you have severely complicated gallbladder disease, or have previously had upper abdominal surgery, our experts may still perform this procedure with minimally-invasive techniques, although in some cases it may be required to convert to open surgery. Our team success with safely performing minimally-invasive gallbladder surgery is over 99% including patients with severe gallbladder disease.

    How is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Performed?

    The patient is put under with general anesthesia, using a narrow tube-like instrument the surgeon enters the abdomen. A laparoscope (tube-like camera) is fed through the tube so the surgeon gets a magnified view of the patients’ internal organs on a TV. Tools are inserted through the abdomen and the gallbladder is removed. The incisions are then closed with absorbable stitches or surgical tape. The resulting scar it is absent or barely noticeable after complete healing.

    How is Robotic Gallbladder Removal Performed?

    Much like the laparoscopic approach above, tube-like instruments are fed inside the abdomen to get a high-definition view of the field while the surgeon operates the robotic console for fine movements and articulation of the instruments. The robot is extremely precise and mimics the movements of the surgeon operating it.

    What Does the Day of Surgery Look Like?

    You may not eat or drink after midnight the night before the operation. When you arrive at the doctor’s office, you will be put under and the operation will be performed. When you awaken you will need someone to help you get home. Regularly patients go home the same day of surgery, however on occasions you may have to stay overnight for observation.

    What if I don’t Qualify for the Laparoscopic Surgery?

    In our experience we find this very rare. In a small number of patients, laparoscopic surgery may not be the correct choice. If laparoscopic gallbladder removal doesn’t work for you, we will still proceed with the removal of the gallbladder via the open surgery method. Factors that could increase the possibility of choosing or converting to the open surgery procedure may include:

    • Very inflamed and scarred gallbladder
    • Inability to see organs through the laparoscope
    • Bleeding problems during surgery
    • Gallbladder Cancer

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