The gallbladder is the pear-shaped organ located under the liver that collects and releases bile after eating to help in the digestion process.
When the amount of bile and chemicals inside the gallbladder are imbalanced, gallstones may develop and irritate the lining of the bladder, causing heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Gallstones are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is not necessary for proper body functioning.
A cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the gallbladder for patients with severe gallstones and other bladder problems. This procedure is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S. and is safe for most patients with gallbladder problems, except for those who have had previous upper abdominal surgery.
Cholecystectomy can be performed laparoscopically, which involves making several small incisions rather than one large incision to remove the gallbladder with ultrasound guidance. This technique also avoids the need to cut the muscles of the abdomen for access to the gallbladder. A laparoscope and tiny surgical instruments are inserted into these incisions to remove the gallbladder, which is taken out through one of the same incisions. With laparoscopy, patients can return to work more quickly after surgery and have less pain and scarring as well. Most patients can return home the same day.
While laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include bleeding, infection, injury to the bile duct or injury to the intestines. These risks are considered rare, and can be reduced by choosing an experienced doctor to perform your surgery.