GALLBLADDER DISEASE SINGAPORE
What is the gallbladder?
What is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy)?
Your gallbladder is a small organ in your upper abdomen. The abdomen is the area in the middle of your body that holds many organs, including the stomach and gallbladder.
What does the gallbladder do?
The gallbladder collects and stores a liquid called bile that helps your body break down food. Small, hard deposits called gallstones can form in the gallbladder. This is a common condition. If your gallstones cause health problems, doctors might do surgery to remove it. For example, you might need surgery if your gallbladder is no longer working correctly and you have pain. Your doctor will talk with you about this.
What causes gallbladder problems?
Gallstones are often the cause. These small, hard deposits form in the gallbladder. They can also get into the bile duct, which connects the gallbladder with your intestines.
You are more likely to get gallstones if you:
Are a woman,
Have had children,
Are overweight, or
Are over 40.
You might also get gallstones if other people in your family had them. Doctors do not have a consistent way of preventing gallstones.
What are the symptoms gallbladder problems?
Symptoms can include:
Sharp pain in your abdomen,
Nausea and vomiting,
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 doctors find gallbladder problems?
Your doctor 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 a CT scan or a test called a HIDA scan. The HIDA scan uses an injection of dye to show how well your gallbladder and bile duct are working.
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.
What are the advantages of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery?
Smaller incision – Several small incisions, each less than one (1) inch long, instead of a 5- to 7-inch incision for open surgery.
Less pain than after open surgery.
Quicker recovery than open surgery – 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 you?
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal might be the right choice for you because it is the most common type of gallbladder surgery. It might not be an option if:
You have severe gallbladder problems, or
You had earlier surgery in your upper abdomen.
How is Laparoscopic Gallbladder removal done?
You will have general anesthesia for your laparoscopic gallbladder removal. This means you are asleep during surgery. When surgery is finished, the surgeon closes your incisions with tiny stitches, staples, surgical tape or glue. These disappear as you heal, so the doctor does not need to remove them later.
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 your 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 the 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.
Your surgeon might use a surgical robot to do your operation. It is done the same way as the description above. Your doctor guides the robot instead of guiding the instruments by hand. This is commonly referred to as robotic surgery.
You might have a specialised X-ray of your gallbladder and bile duct during surgery. This X-ray can find gallstones in the common bile duct. If you have them, the surgeon might need to do additional procedures during the surgery or you might need another procedure to remove them later.
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 your 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.
Your surgeon might prescribe a small amount of pain medicine to help you with pain. Many people recover from surgery without taking any pain medicine, but some will need it for a few days. If you have questions about the pain after surgery, ask the surgeon or your nurses. They should be able to tell you how long the pain will last and what to expect.
You might feel sick to your stomach (nauseated) or throw up (vomit) after your surgery. Having surgery and anesthesia can make this happen. You should feel better in a day or two. Tell your doctor or nurse if you keep vomiting or feeling nauseated.
You should be as active as your body allows. Doctors recommend walking. You can go up and down stairs on the day of your surgery. You can expect to feel a little better each day after going home. If not, please call your doctor.
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 your doctor when you can go back to work. You can drive 24 hours after you had anesthesia if you are not taking narcotic pain medicines.
If you had 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. Your doctor can tell you what to expect.
When to see your doctor after surgery?
You need to see your surgeon 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
When to call your doctor after laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Be sure to call your surgeon or family doctor 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 your doctor 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.