How Does Your Brain Score? Take the Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment

HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by Talix

Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

What Is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?

Laparoscopic gallbladder 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 following: 

  • biliary dyskinesia, which occurs when the gallbladder doesn’t fill or empty correctly due to a defect
  • choledocholithiasis, which occurs when gallstones move to the bile duct and potentially cause a blockage that prevents the gallbladder from draining
  • cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the gallbladder
  • pancreatitis, 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 recovery time.

The Risks of a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is considered safe. The complication rate is less than 2 percent.

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
  • bleeding
  • blood clots
  • damage to blood vessels
  • heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate
  • infection
  • injury to the bile duct or small intestine
  • pancreatitis

How to Prepare for a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

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 after surgery
  • 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 complications
  • showering using a special antibacterial soap

How a Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Is Performed

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 cholangiography. Any 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 after surgery.

Your doctor will remove the stitches at a follow-up appointment.


Content licensed from:

Written by: Brian Krans
Published on: Jun 26, 2012
Medically reviewed on: Dec 04, 2015: [Ljava.lang.Object;@579c8ca0

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
Advertisement

 

 

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Advertisement