What is Gall Bladder Surgery

The Gall bladder is a pear-shaped small pouch situated just under the liver. It holds all the bile, the digestive-fluid produced by the liver. If the Gall bladder does not regulate the bile properly, it transforms into hard fragments. The stones can largely vary in size; from a rice grain to a golf ball.

Gall bladder stones do not go away naturally. Gall bladders are surgically removed and the procedure is called Cholecystectomy.

Types of Gallbladder Surgery

Generally, Gall bladder stones are removed in 2 ways:

Open surgery: Open Gall bladder surgery is done with 5 to 7-inch incision in the belly. If the patient has a bleeding complicacy, the open surgery is specifically required. If the patient has associated complications like excessive obesity and last trimester of pregnancy, then also an open surgery is the wisest way.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy or Keyhole surgery is done with 4 small holes in the patient’s body. The operation is done after introducing long and thin telescope into the abdomen that comes with a lens and a tiny light lamp at the tip which is connected to the camera on the monitor outside. Surgery is done using long and thin instruments.. During the surgery, the surgeon monitors the positioning of the Gall bladder. Then, with other small surgical equipment, the gall bladder is seperated from all the adjacent structures and liver and is taken out along with gallstones. some times if the gallstone are big then they are broken down and taken out.

Who needs Gallbladder removal surgery

In many cases, though the Gall bladder does not function properly, it may not cause any problem to the daily life. Doctors generally don’t remove the stone until it becomes a continuous disruption to the daily life.

When the Gall bladder blocks the bile ducts, it is called“gall bladder attack”. Gall bladder attack produces a sharp, knife-like gall bladder pain in the belly that generally stays till operated.

If Gall bladder is not operated instantly, it may lead to further complications like:

  • Cholecystitis (inflammed gallbladder)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammed pancreas)
  • Cholangitis (inflammed bile ducts)

Gallbladder Diagnosis

Before surgically removing the gallbladder, the doctor will see how much and whether this surgery is going to affect the patient’s health.

The most significant tests are:

  • Ultrasound
  • Blood test
  • MRI HIDA
  • Endoscopic ultrasonography

The alternative of Gallbladder surgery

Making drastic changes to the diet can delay the attack to a few days or months. This dietary change cuts down all the fatty foods from the routine. But, this cannot be a permanent solution and the attack is bound to happen after a certain timeframe.

If the patient cannot anyway opt for a surgery, certain medications are prescribed for dissolving the stone inside the body. But, Gallbladder stone medications may actually take months or even years to dissolve the stones completely and not all types of stones can be dissolved by these medications. Also, dissolving the stone will not guarantee that it will never come back.

Gallbladder Surgery Risk Factors

Human liver  produces enough bile throughout the lifetime to run the digestive system normally. Gall bladder acts as an organ to store that bile and concentrate it till the time gall bladder pump it in the intestine when next food reaches there. Therefore, even if the Gallbladder is removed, the food would smoothly find its way to the small intestine and there is no significant change in digestion of food

Though Gall bladder operation is considered to be a safe surgical process, there are certain complications that may arise after or during the surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Bile leakage
  • Swelling
  • Intestine, bowel or blood vessels damage
  • Bile duct damage
  • Heart problems
  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pneumonia

Recovery from Gall Bladder Surgery

The recovery time largely depends on the patient’s other medical condition and the type of surgery he or she has gone for. If an open surgery is done, the patient might need to stay at the hospital for a few days after the surgery. It takes 6-8 weeks to get completely cured of an open surgery.

In the case of Laparoscopy, both the pain and the recovery time are much less. If there is no such other complication, the patient may go home on the same date of surgery. The complete recovery takes approximately 2 weeks.

Here are a few ways to avoid post-surgery complications:

  • Moderate movement
  • Drinking plenty of fluid
  • Not lifting more than 6 pounds for 6 weeks
  • Mainlining the hygiene of the operated area
  • Changing the bandages as directed
  • Avoiding wearing tight clothing
Content Reviewed By: Dr. Pankaj Hans