Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal (Cholecystectomy)
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is the most commonly performed laparoscopic abdominal surgical procedures in the United States. The medical name for this procedure is Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy.
- It is a pear-shaped pouch that is attached to the under surface of the right side of the liver.
- The cystic duct is a small tube which comes out from the gallbladder to join a larger tube called the common hepatic duct which then continues as the common bile duct. The common bile duct empties into the beginning of the small intestine. The main purpose of the gallbladder is to concentrate and store a special juice made by the liver called bile. It releases bile by ejecting it through the common bile duct into the small intestine when fatty foods are eaten. The bile aids in the digestion of fatty foods. However, one can live without the gallbladder without suffering symptoms.
Stones may form in the gallbladder, which can block the flow of bile resulting in pain in the right upper abdomen. Gallstones can also lodge in the lower end of the common bile duct that opens into the small intestine. Here the stones can also block the flow of pancreatic juice from the pancreatic duct that joins the common bile duct. This may result in a severe inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis. While some people may have no symptoms even in the presence of gallstones, others may have gallbladder problems even in the absence of stones.
HOW IS LAPAROSCOPIC GALLBLADDER REMOVAL PERFORMED?
- Under general anesthesia, so the patient is asleep throughout the procedure.
- Using a cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument), the surgeon enters the abdomen in the area of the belly-button. Your abdomen will be inflated with carbon dioxide gas to create a space to operate.
- A laparoscope (a tiny telescope) connected to a special camera is inserted through the cannula, giving the surgeon a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a monitor.
- Two to three cannulas are inserted for placement of instruments which allow your surgeon to delicately separate the gallbladder from its attachments and then remove it through one of the openings.
- After the surgeon removes the gallbladder, the small incisions are closed with a stitch or two or with surgical tape.
ADVANTAGES OF LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY
- Less postoperative pain
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster return to a regular, solid food diet
- Quicker return to normal activities
- Better cosmetic results