Gallbladder surgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed to remove a diseased gallbladder through small incisions in the abdomen. The diseased gallbladder may be safely removed through surgery as it is not vital for health or digestion.
Gallbladder surgery is performed to treat gallstones, blockage of the duct system by the gallstones, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), gallstone pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) as well as gallbladder cancer.
Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. A small incision is made on or near your belly button. The laparoscope is passed through the incision. A few other similar incisions are made through which special instruments are inserted to perform the surgery. Magnified views of the operative site are visualised on a monitor to guide your surgeon throughout the procedure. The gallbladder is carefully separated from the surrounding tissue and removed through one of the incisions. A special X-ray called a cholangiogram is then obtained to view the duct system for any abnormalities such as stones or strictures. These may be treated during the same procedure or with a separate surgery. The instruments are then removed and the incisions closed with absorbable sutures. The entire procedure takes no more than 2 hours. If surgery becomes complicated, it may be necessary to convert to an open procedure.
Following surgery, you may be allowed to return home on the same day. Pain is usually minimal, but you will be given pain medications to keep you comfortable. You will be able to resume your regular activities within 7-10 days. Gallbladder removal does not impair digestion in most people and no dietary changes are required.
Complications with laparoscopic gallbladder surgery are rare, but can include:
- Clot formation
- Injury to the bile duct or small intestine