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Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder Removal Surgery

Gallbladder removal surgery

Gall bladder is an organ in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen which stores bile produced by the liver. Surgical removal of this organ is called as cholecystectomy. It is a very commonly performed surgery carrying very low risk of complications. Nowadays, most cholecystectomy surgeries are performed with the help of laparoscope by making a few small incisions on the abdomen. Some cases might require a more extensive approach where a larger incision is required to remove the gall bladder, that is then called as open cholecystectomy.

Reasons for doing a cholecystectomy

The commonest reason for performing a cholecystectomy is gall stones formation called as, cholelithiasis, and its related complications like pancreatitis, cholecystitis or obstruction of the bile duct due to gall stones (choledocholithiasis).

Risk following a cholecystectomy

Complications following a cholecystectomy are rare, however, the below mentioned may develop in some cases:

  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Unprecedented bleeding
  • Leakage of bile
  • Injury to adjoining organs

The chances of a patient developing cholecystectomy depends on the reason for the surgery and overall health condition of the patient.

Preparing for the surgery

  • Overnight fasting is advised prior to the surgery
  • Limiting certain medications and supplements might be advised to reduce the chances of surgical complications like bleeding etc.

In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, small keyhole incisions are made on the abdominal wall and a tube containing a camera will be inserted through them. The visuals will be seen on the monitor and the doctor will perform the procedure accordingly. Following that, the incisions will be sutured and the patient will be shifted to the recovery area. The procedure is usually completed within 1-2 hours.

In some cases, open cholecystectomy may be required depending on the patient’s condition. An ongoing laparoscopic procedure might have to get converted into an open procedure due to previous surgical scar tissues or other complications.

In an open cholecystectomy, an incision is made below the ribs in the right upper abdomen, the tissues and muscles are retracted and the gall bladder is removed. The site is sutured, and patient is shifted to recovery.

Depending upon the type of procedure, the time required for recovery may vary. In a laparoscopic procedure, one may be discharged the same day or at the most the next day if things continue to be normal. Complete recovery may take about a week’s time.

An open cholecystectomy might require a 2-3 days of hospitalization and almost 4 to 6 weeks for a complete recovery.

This procedure can provide relief from the discomfort and pain of a gall stone. Dietary modifications and lifestyle changes cannot treat gall stones as such. Pain medications might give a temporary relief but the pain will recur eventually. Usually, cholecystectomy does not interfere with digestion.

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