Gallbladder removal is called “Cholecystectomy”. “Chole” means bile in Latin and “ectomy” means to remove or take away. So, when we perform a “laparoscopic cholecystectomy” or “lap chole” we are taking away a portion of the bile duct tract that often becomes diseased. There are an exceptionally good reason and explanation for why this operation is performed so frequently. It is because gallbladder problems are quite common, and cholecystectomy is an extremely effective cure that is performed in about an hour. If you or your loved one has gallbladder problems and surgery is being considered, do not be scared. Just make sure you seek out a qualified surgeon who performs many of these operations.
Gallbladders are typically removed due to pain and other symptoms either caused by stone formation in the gallbladder or often, due to improper or lost function of the gallbladder. Symptoms often overlap and many people without gallstones suffer from symptoms of the gallbladder due to dysfunction which is just as bad as the symptoms other people experience who do have stones.
Gallstones are "stones" which can form in the gallbladder, a small organ located in the upper right abdomen below the liver. This pouch stores bile, a green-yellow liquid that plays an important role in digestion. Unfortunately, when there is too much cholesterol or bilirubin in your bile, or the right conditions develop, or the bile is very concentrated, gallstones can form.
At the office of Dr. Steven Williams in Boise, ID, we understand that gallbladder issues can be extremely inconvenient, and the prospect of gallbladder removal can be scary. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about gallbladder removal.
Why Would My Doctor Recommend Gallbladder Removal?
Gallbladder removal is most often recommended when symptoms from a bad gallbladder or gallstones develop. Upper abdominal pain, especially under the breastbone and in the right upper quadrant are common. The pain may radiate to your back. Nausea and sometimes vomiting as well can also be frequent symptoms. Often, these symptoms occur after eating. Whenever you eat foods that are high in fat, your gallbladder is stimulated. Some people experience symptoms, such as:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Feeling bad and ‘indigestion’ after meals
- Burping frequently
- Orange or dark urine can be a serious sign of gallbladder or bile tract problems
How Is A Gallbladder Disease Procedure Performed?
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is a common procedure. It does require general anesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Steven Williams, MD, will make three small incisions in your abdomen. Then, a small telescope with a camera on the end is inserted into one of the incisions so your gallbladder can be seen. It is then carefully removed using the other two port sites for working tools. Surgery will take about 30 to 45 minutes. You will go home on the same day after a brief stay in the recovery room. You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital. Most hospitals require your driver to be over 18. You will be provided with pain medications. Most patients only take a few pills in the 48 hrs directly after surgery. You should be up and walking around when you are awake, but it is normal to feel tired and sleepy after the anesthesia. You can have a light dinner and the next day resume your usual diet. We do usually recommend a low-fat diet for 5 to 7 days as your body gets used to not having a gallbladder.
What Are the Side Effects of Gallbladder Removal?
Discomfort at the small incision sites is the most common issue. Sometimes nausea may persist for a few days. One of the most common side effects of laparoscopic gallbladder removal is a change in your stools over the next couple of weeks that usually resolves. Once your gallbladder is removed, bile continues to flow from the liver to the small intestine. Since it does not go through the gallbladder anymore, it may become less concentrated and you may experience a laxative effect. For those patients that had slight or worse constipation, this may help those symptoms. Rarely, a patient has ongoing issues with frequent loose stools after the operation. If this is still the case a month after surgery please let us know, we have answers that can help!
How Will My Lifestyle Change After Gallbladder Surgery?
After your gallbladder is removed, you may find that you feel better than you have felt in months. Gallbladder problems usually linger, and the inflammation takes its toll on your body and energy reserves. The vast majority of gallbladder removal patients feel much better after a week or two than they did before the operation.
How Long is the Recovery Process After Gallbladder Surgery?
It usually takes around two weeks to return to your daily routine after laparoscopic gallbladder removal. Often patients experience some fatigue that lasts for a couple of weeks where they start to feel tired in the afternoons and may need a nap. Do not hesitate to get some extra rest and if you need a nap, take one! In the case of open surgery, you may need to stay in a hospital for three to five days and recovery can take six to eight weeks. This is why open surgery should be avoided, There is ONLY VERY RARELY any indication to have open gallbladder surgery anymore.
Can I Live Without A Gallbladder?
You can live a perfectly normal life without a gallbladder. However, bile constantly drips into the digestive system rather than collecting in the gallbladder. Therefore, some patients may feel better if they avoid high-fat foods and beverages, such as heavy cream, bacon, french fries, and pizza. Most patients do not need to change any of the foods they enjoyed before gallbladder removal.
Contact Dr. Steven Williams Today
When symptoms from gallbladder problems seriously affect your life, it may be time to consider having your gallbladder removed. To learn more about gallbladder removal and what to expect after the procedure, contact the office of Dr. Steven Williams in Boise, ID today to schedule your initial consultation.