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Marker Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

Surgery to remove the gallbladder is called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

With this surgery, a laparoscope (a small, thin tube with a scope on the tip of it that is used to see the inside of your body) is used to remove the gallbladder. Several small incisions are used rather than one large incision.

Gallbladder Removal

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How is a Laparoscope Used to Remove the Gallbladder?

The laparoscope is put into your body through a tiny cut made just below your navel. Your surgeon can then see your gallbladder on a TV screen and carry out the procedure with tools inserted in 3 other small cuts made in the right upper part of your abdomen. Your gallbladder is then taken out through one of the incisions.

What are the Benefits of this Type of Surgery?

With laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you may return to work more quickly, have less pain after surgery, have a shorter hospital stay, and have a shorter recovery time. Unlike traditional surgery, laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder can be done without cutting the muscles of your abdomen. The incision is also much smaller. Because the incisions are smaller with laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there isn't as much pain after this operation as after open cholecystectomy. Therefore recovery is faster and the patient may return home sooner.

What are the Reasons for Gallbladder Removal?

Several conditions may lead to surgery to remove the gallbladder:

  • Gallstones can develop if the bile gets too concentrated. These small, hard stones can block the bile duct, resulting in attacks of abdominal pain, nausea and fever.
  • Gallstones can be extremely painful and can lead to the gallbladder becoming infected which in turn can lead to blood poisoning.

If the gallbladder has become inflamed and infected it is not possible for the surgery to take place until the inflammation has receded.

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Who Should Not Have This Type of Surgery?

If you had surgery around your gallbladder before, if you tend to bleed a lot, or if you have any problem that would make it hard for your doctor to see your gallbladder such as excess weight, open surgery may be better for you. Your doctor will decide which type of surgery is appropriate for you.

Gallbladder Removal

What are Possible Complications?

Complications are rare but may include bleeding, infection and injury to the duct (tube) that carries bile from your gallbladder to your stomach. Also, during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the intestines or major blood vessels may be injured when the instruments are inserted into the abdomen. Remember, all of these complications are rare.

Open Gallbladder Surgery

In open gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy), the surgeon removes the gallbladder through a 5- to 8-inch long incision in the abdomen. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and lasts 1 to 2 hours. The surgeon will make the incision either under the border of the right rib cage or in the middle of the upper part of the abdomen (between the belly button and the end of the breastbone). With open cholecystectomy, you would need to stay in the hospital for 7 days.

In about 5% of cases, a surgeon who starts a laparoscopic gallbladder procedure needs to switch to an open surgical method. Examples of problems that can require open rather than laparoscopic surgery include unexpected inflammation, scar tissue, injury, or bleeding.

Conditions that may require open rather than laparoscopic surgery include:

  • Severe inflammation of the bile duct or gallbladder
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Inflammation of the abdominal lining (peritonitis)
  • High pressure in blood vessels in the liver (portal hypertension); this is caused by cirrhosis of the liver
  • Being in the late stages of pregnancy
  • A major bleeding disorder or use of medicines to prevent blood clotting (blood thinners or anticoagulants)
  • Scar tissue from many previous abdominal surgeries
  • Abnormal anatomy in the abdomen

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After Gallbladder Removal Surgery

Surgery involves a hospital stay of 5 days. Most people can return to their normal activities within 4 to 6 weeks. Open surgery involves more pain afterward and a longer recovery period than laparoscopic surgery.

How Successful is the Procedure

After surgery to remove the gallbladder, bile flows from the liver (where it is produced) through the common bile duct and into the small intestine. Because the gallbladder is gone, bile no longer is stored between meals. In most people, this has little or no effect on digestion. The body can function perfectly well without a gallbladder

Surgery reduces the risk that gallstones will come back. However, gallstones sometimes form in the bile ducts years after cholecystectomy, although this is not common.

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