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Gallbladder Removal: What are the reasons to have it taken out?

Gallbladder Removal: What are the reasons to have it taken out?

Gallbladder removal, or cholecystectomy, is a surgical procedure wherein a surgeon removes the gallbladder. This procedure is also fairly common, and in terms of the risk involved, it has very few complications. Learning more about a cholecystectomy can help give you peace of mind and allow you to prepare for the procedure, should you need it.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is an organ that stores bile produced by the liver. When we eat food, the gallbladder releases this bile into the intestine to aid in digestion. In particular, the gallbladder helps us digest fatty foods.

While the gallbladder does play a role in digestion, this is not completely necessary as people without gallbladders are still able to digest the food they eat without any problems. Most people who undergo a cholecystectomy usually don’t have any serious gallbladder removal side effects.

Right after the procedure, patients might experience flatulence, diarrhea, or constipation. This usually happens because the body is still adjusting to digestion without the gallbladder. But over time, these symptoms go away.

In very rare cases, it’s possible for the surgeon to accidentally damage the intestines. But this is an extremely rare occurrence, and any competent surgeon can do the surgery without any problem.

Chronic Gallbladder Disease: All You Need to Know

When is gallbladder removal needed?

The main reason to undergo a cholecystectomy is when you have gallstones; however, it still depends on the size and present symptoms. While you can undergo procedures or take medication to break up gallstones, there is a high chance that the stones will grow back. So the best way to deal with it would be to take out the gallbladder entirely.

If you have an inflamed or infected gallbladder, a doctor might also recommend a cholecystectomy to deal with the problem completely.

How is gallbladder removal done?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common method of removing the gallbladder. It is perfectly safe, and patients can usually go home the same day of the procedure. Patients also usually recover faster with this procedure.

Here is the step-by-step process:

  1. An anesthesiologist gives general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep.
  2. The surgeon makes four small incisions in the abdomen and inserts a tube with a camera in one of the incisions.
  3. Afterward, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments used to remove the gallbladder through the other incisions.
  4. The surgeon uses these instruments to remove the gallbladder and to tie off any blood vessels.
  5. The surgeon stitches the incisions closed, and the patient can then recover.

In some situations, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy might not be possible. In these cases, an open cholecystectomy would be a better option.

Here is the step-by-step process:

  1. An anesthesiologist gives general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep.
  2. Next, the surgeon makes a single cut in the center of the abdomen, or near the right side of the ribcage.
  3. The surgeon separates and removes the gallbladder from the surrounding tissue and organs.
  4. Blood vessels are tied off, and the gallbladder is taken out.
  5. The surgeon stitches the incision closed, and then nurses take the patient to their hospital room.

In terms of safety, both of these procedures are low risk and safe, and pose very little side effects. However, laparoscopic cholecystectomy allows for a faster recovery compared to open cholecystectomy. There might also be more scarring in an open cholecystectomy because it requires a muchlarger incision to be made.

In terms of recovery, patients who undergo a laparoscopic cholecystectomy usually get back to work in a couple of days. For an open cholecystectomy, it might take about a week before the patient fully recovers.

gallbladder removal

Key Takeaways

Gallbladder removal is a standard procedure that entails very little risk. Patients who undergo this type of surgery usually recover within a day, and usually don’t experience any harmful side effects after the procedure.

If you have any worries about your surgery, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your doctor. They should be able to guide you through the process and give you assurance.

Learn more about Digestive Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Procedure Details | Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/7017-laparoscopic-cholecystectomy-gallbladder-removal, Accessed December 7, 2020

Cholecystectomy – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholecystectomy/about/pac-20384818#:~:text=A%20cholecystectomy%20is%20most%20commonly,used%20to%20remove%20the%20gallbladder., Accessed December 7, 2020

Gallbladder Removal Surgery (Cholecystectomy) Patient Information from SAGES, https://www.sages.org/publications/patient-information/patient-information-for-laparoscopic-gallbladder-removal-cholecystectomy-from-sages/, Accessed December 7, 2020

Gallbladder removal – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gallbladder-removal/, Accessed December 7, 2020

Cholecystectomy, https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/cholesys.ashx, Accessed December 7, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara on Dec 09, 2020
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