What Causes Gallbladder Problems?
- Are a woman,
- Have had children,
- Are overweight, or
- Are over 40.
What are the symptoms of gallbladder problems?
Symptoms can include:
- Sharp pain in your abdomen,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Fever, and
- Yellow skin – Jaundice is the medical term for skin and eyes that look yellow. You might get jaundice if gallstones block your bile duct.
How do we find gallbladder problems?
Our Surgeon will probably order a test called an ultrasound. It shows the inside of the body using sound waves. You are awake during the test, and it does not hurt.
If you need more tests, you might have few blood tests and a CT scan.
How do doctors treat gallbladder problems?
Taking the gallbladder out is usually the best way to treat gallbladder problems. You might get some relief from changing your diet. For example, eating less fat can help. But gallstones rarely go away on their own.
You might have heard about treatments to break up gallstones or make them melt away (dissolve). Unfortunately, these do not usually work well.
A cholecystectomy is most commonly performed to treat gallstones and the complications they cause. Our surgeon may recommend a cholecystectomy if you have:
- Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
- Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
- Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
- Large gallbladder polyps
- Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) due to gallstones
What are the advantages of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery?
- Smaller incision – Several small incisions, each less than one (1) inch long.
- Less pain.
- Quicker recovery– You might go home the same day you have your surgery. You can also go back to regular activities more quickly.
Is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal for Youis the Right Choice?
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal might be the right choice for you because it is the most common type of gallbladder surgery.
How Should I Prepare for Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
You will need a full physical examination. You might need some tests to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery.
Our surgeon will talk with you about the risks and benefits of surgery. Then you will sign a form saying you understand and agree to the operation. Our team will tell you what to do and avoid before surgery. The exact instructions depend on our surgeon, but here are some common things to do.
- Stop eating and drinking at the time our surgeon tells you before surgery.
- The morning of your surgery, you may take medications our surgeon told you are allowed. Take them with just a sip of water.
- You might need to stop taking certain medicines before surgery. These include blood thinners, supplements, and medicines that affect your immune system. Talk to our surgeon when you schedule your laparoscopic gallbladder removal.
You will need someone to drive you home from surgery. You will also need someone to stay with you overnight.
How is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Done?
You will have general anaesthesia for your laparoscopic gallbladder removal. This means you are asleep during surgery. When surgery is finished, your incisions will be closed with tiny stitches or staples.
Once you are asleep, the surgeon makes an incision near your belly button and inserts a small device called a port. The port creates an opening that our surgeon can use to fill the abdomen with gas. This creates space to do the operation. Next, they insert a small camera through the port. The camera shows the surgery on a screen in the operating room. Once our surgeon can see clearly, they put in more ports to insert long, narrow instruments. Finally, they gently disconnect your gallbladder and take it out through one of the incisions. Most operations need 3 or 4 incisions, but some have more.
What if I Cannot Have Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
A few people cannot have laparoscopic gallbladder removal. You might have open surgery if you are one of these people. Some reasons for having or switching to open surgery are:
- Your gallbladder has a lot of damage – Such as scars or inflammation.
- You have more scar tissues in your abdomen from earlier surgery.
- You have other cancers along with gallbladder stones
- You have bleeding problems during surgery.
It is not a complication (problem) if our surgeon decides to switch to open surgery. He will switch if open surgery is the safest option for you. Our surgeon might not know this until after the laparoscopy starts. They will use their best judgment about the safest surgery for you.
What are the Possible Complications of Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
You will probably go back to normal activities within one week. Complications are problems that happen during medical care or after it. Most people who have laparoscopic gallbladder removal have few complications or none at all.
Complications of laparoscopic gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) do not happen often. They can include bleeding, infection in the surgery area, hernias, blood clots, and heart problems. A hernia is when a small amount of your gut (intestine) or other tissue bulges through the muscles that cover it.
You should also know that any surgery has the risk of hurting other body parts. This is not likely, but it is possible. Gallbladder surgery could hurt nearby areas such as the common bile duct, large intestine (colon), or small intestine. You might need another surgery if this happens. It is also possible that bile might leak into the abdomen after gallbladder surgery.
Most complications from gallbladder surgery are rare, which means they almost never happen. If you are concerned about any possible complication, ask our surgeon.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER GALLBLADDER REMOVAL SURGERY (CHOLECYSTECTOMY)?
You can probably go home the day you have your surgery, or you might stay in the hospital overnight. You need to be able to drink liquids before you go home.
WILL I BE IN PAIN?
You will feel some pain after surgery. Pain at the incision sites and in your abdomen is common. You might also have pain in your shoulders. This is from the air put into your abdomen during the operation. The shoulder pain should go away in 24 to 48 hours.
Our surgeon might prescribe pain medicines to help you with pain. If you have questions about pain after surgery, ask our team. They should be able to tell you how long the pain will last and what to expect.
Will I have Nausea/Vomiting??
You might feel sick to your stomach (nauseated) or throw up (vomit) after your surgery. Having surgery and anaesthesia can make this happen. You should feel better in a day or two. Tell our team if you keep vomiting or feeling nauseated.
You should be as active as your body allows. Our Surgeon recommends walking. You can go up and down stairs on the day of your surgery. The next day, you may take your bandages off, if you have them, and take a shower. You can expect to feel a little better each day after going home. If not, please call our team.
You can probably go back to normal activity about a week after laparoscopic gallbladder removal.
If you do a physical job with heavy lifting, ask our surgeon when you can go back to work. You can drive 24 hours after you had anaesthesia if you are not taking narcotic pain medicines.
If you had an open surgery with a large incision, you need more time to recover. You will probably need to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery. Expect to go back to full activities in 4 to 6 weeks. You will probably recover more slowly in other ways, too. Our surgeon can tell you what to expect.
WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR AFTER SURGERY
You need to see our surgeon 1 week after surgery.
WHEN TO CALL OUR TEAM AFTER LAPAROSCOPIC CHOLECYSTECTOMY
Be sure to call our team if you have any of problems below.
- Fever over 101 degrees F (38.5 C)
- Severe pain or swelling in the belly
- Yellow skin (jaundice)
- Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up (nausea or vomiting) – Call if you cannot eat or drink.
- Blood or pus coming from any of the small cuts in the surgery area – Or redness that spreads or gets worse.
- Pain that your medicines do not help
- Breathing problems or a cough that does not get better.
This information is not intended to take the place of your discussion with our surgeon. If you have any questions about the problem, surgery or subsequent follow-up, please discuss them with our surgeon before or after the examination.
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