Surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder is Cholecystectomy. Gallbladder is an organ in the right side of your abdomen below the liver. Gallbladder Removal Surgeryis generally performed for treating gallstones.
Treatment for gallbladder stones involves either medication to dissolve gallstones or surgery to remove the gallbladder. Medication may take months or years for the stones to dissolve completely and is generally reserved for those who are unable to undergo surgery.
Cholecystectomy is a common procedure that allows bile to flow directly from the liver into the small intestine rather than being stored in the gallbladder. Though the body can no longer store bile, gallbladder removal does not affect one’s ability to digest food and the organ is not essential for survival.
Cholecystectomy can be performed in 2 ways:
Open Cholecystectomy, in which the surgeon makes a six-inch incision in the abdomen, and requires two to three days hospitalization
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, in which the surgeon makes four small incisions and uses a laparoscope and other special instruments. Patients are released on the same day or might require an overnight stay at the hospital.
Gallbladder removal surgery may be required if
You experience pain from gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis) or bile duct (choledocholithiasis),
You have inflammation in gall bladder (cholecystitis) or pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis).
Surgery is also recommended in cases where gallstones occur frequently.
Your surgeon will ask you to:
Drink a prescription solution for few days before the procedure to clean your intestines.
Skip meals and beverages atleast 4 hours prior to the surgery.
Eat a low-fat diet for several weeks before the surgery.
Stop taking certain medications and supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding.
General anaesthesia is administerd before the Cholecystectomy. The procedure can be either laparoscopic or open.
Open Cholecystectomy generally takes 1 to 2 hours. In this procedure your surgeon will put a 15 cm cut in your abdomen, on the right side just below your ribs. Liver and gallbladder are made visible by pulling muscles and tissues around it. Gallbladder is removed and the cut is sutured.
The surgeon begins the laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure by making four small incisions in the abdomen. A telescopic instrument with a camera fitted at the end (laparoscope) is inserted in one of the incisions, and other surgical tools are inserted in the other incisions. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to view the affected area on a monitor and remove the gallbladder. The bile duct is also screened beforehand for any abnormalities. Once the gallbladder is removed, incisions are sutured and patient is taken to the recovery area.
After open cholecystectomy, you will be asked to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days. After laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you can go back home once you are able to eat and drink with experiencing any pain, and walk properly without support. In most cases, the patient can go home on the same day.
Mild diarrhoea is experienced by many patients post the surgery, but it goes away with time. Patients are able to eat normally soon after the operation and on the same day itself.
Your doctor will recommend the following
Eat small, frequent meals initially. This will allow available bile to mix well with the food.
Include lean protein, vegetables, fruit and whole grains in diet.
Cut down on fat-rich foods and opt for low-fat food items.
Gradually increase the fibre content in diet to help normalize bowel movements and reduce incidences of diarrhoea or constipation.
Risk and Complications
The known risks of cholecystectomy are:
Leakage of bile
Bleeding and blood clots
Infection and injury to nearby organs like the bile duct, liver and small intestine
Dietary modifications cannot prevent gallstones from recurring.
Gallbladder removal is the only method to prevent future cases of gallstones.
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