The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that’s tucked under your liver. It stores bile, a fluid that’s made within the liver and helps the body break down fat. Once you eat a meal that has fat in it, the gallbladder empties the bile into a tube called the “bile duct.” The bile duct carries the bile into the small intestine to assist with digestion.
Gallbladder removal is surgery to remove the gallbladder. This surgery is additionally called “cholecystectomy.”
There are 2 main ways to remove the gallbladder:
- Laparoscopic surgery – this suggests the surgeon uses a “laparoscope,” a long, thin tube that has a light and a tiny camera on the top to see inside the body. (The laparoscope is sometimes called a “scope” for short). For this kind of surgery, the surgeon makes some small incisions. Then he or she inserts the scope through one of the incisions and other special tools through the other incisions. Next the surgeon uses the scope and the tools to do the operation. Most gallbladder removals in the US are done using laparoscopic surgery. Sometimes, though, open surgery is important because the gallbladder and bile duct are too infected or scarred to try and do laparoscopic surgery safely.
- Open surgery – this means the surgeon makes an incision in your belly big enough to do the surgery directly.
The most common reason is to treat gallstones. Gallstones are small stones that form inside the gallbladder. These stones can block the ducts that bile flows through. The stones can cause inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.
This article is about gallbladder removal to treat gallstones. People can also have gallbladder removal to treat cancer of the gallbladder. But if cancer is the reason for the surgery, it usually involves removing more than just the gallbladder.
Before the surgery:
- Your doctor will order blood tests to check if your liver is working normally.
- Your doctor will order an imaging test called an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your body. This test will show if you have gallstones and if the bile duct is enlarged or blocked.
- Your doctor might give you antibiotics through a thin tube that goes into a vein, called an “IV,” to reduce the chance of infection during and after surgery.
If you have the surgery to treat gallstones, the main benefit is that it’ll make your symptoms go away.
The risks of the surgery are low, but they can include:
- Damage to other bile ducts near the gallbladder
- Bile leaks
- Damage to the bowels
- Leaving gallstones “trapped” within the bile duct (which would wish to be removed with ERCP after surgery)
In some cases, an individual will still have belly pain even after the gallbladder is removed.
Recovery could be a little different betting on whether you’ve got laparoscopic or open surgery.
- If you’ve got laparoscopic surgery, you’ll probably be ready to leave the hospital the same day you’ve got surgery. But there’s some chance you’ll stay overnight. While the cuts on the belly are small, the operation inside was the same as if you had open surgery. Your doctor will want you to rest and avoid heavy lifting, sports, and swimming for a minimum of a week.
If you are taking narcotic pain medicine during recovery, you might get constipated. Take a stool softener following this problem.
If you develop any the subsequent symptoms in the weeks after surgery, call your doctor:
- Fever or chills
- Redness or swelling around the cuts from your surgery
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cramping or more severe belly pain
- Bloating (feeling like your belly is full of gas)
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Urine that is very dark in color
Of course, the gall bladder functions as a storage organ. Although it is a dynamic organ, emptying & filling in response to feeding & fasting, there is hardly any difference between the life before & after its removal. No change in diet or lifestyle is advised except for reducing the intake of oily food as it may cause indigestion sometimes.