What is a Cholecystectomy & Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
A cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder. This is a pear shaped organ located just below your liver on the upper right side of your abdomen. The function of the gallbladder is to collect and store a digestive fluid called bile, that is created by the liver. A cholecystectomy is performed when treating gallstones. At King our World Class General Surgeons are experts in Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, and minimally invasive technique for removing the gallbladder.
What Are Gallstones?
Gallstones are “stones” formed in your gallbladder as a result of the deposit and hardening of the digestive fluid. They are very common among the entire population can be an acquired condition as well as a hereditary one. In order to treat this condition, a Cholecystectomy needs to be performed, which involves the total removal of your gallstones as well as your gallbladder.
How Do Gallstones Happen?
To improve the digestion of fats, your liver produces a fluid called bile that is concentrated and stored in your gallbladder. After you eat food, your gallbladder empties the bile stored into your intestines and the digestion of fats began. Gallstones happen after the bile is accumulated and hardens in your gallbladder, this is particularly related to your diet habits.
If the stones move out of your gallbladder into your common bile duct, they can cause jaundice (your eyes and skin turning yellow), a serious infection of your bile ducts (cholangitis) or inflammation of your pancreas (acute pancreatitis). These problems can be serious and can even cause death.
Gallstones Common Causes and Symptoms
The main cause for the development of gallstone is dietary habits, particularly if you eat a diet rich in fat. On the other hand, the risk of developing gallstones also increases as you get older or if you are a woman.
For some people, gallstones can cause severe symptoms, including repeated attacks of abdominal pain, vomiting, and indigestion. Pain is due either to stones blocking the gallbladder duct (cystic duct) and preventing your gallbladder from emptying (biliary colic) or to inflammation of your gallbladder (cholecystitis). The pain can be severe enough to need admission to hospital and surgery as a medical urgency.
Reason For Having a Cholecystectomy
Maybe the most important reason for you having the removal of your gallbladder is that you will be free of pain, nausea, indigestion and able to eat a normal diet without additional consequences. Also, surgery should prevent serious complications that gallstones can cause. And fortunately, after some weeks your body will adjust and function perfectly well without your gallbladder.
Alternatives to Cholecystectomy
Even though for some people, gallstones will never be a medical problem, or it will take many years for this condition to cause them, surgery is recommended as it is the only dependable and the definitive way to cure this condition.
There are other alternatives however they are not as effective as surgery because they will not cure the underlying condition. It is possible to dissolve the stones or even shatter them into small pieces. Having a healthier diet with low fat intake may help to prevent attacks of pain, but it won’t make the gallstones disappear.
What Will Happen If I Decide Not to Have the Operation?
If you have already presented symptoms of gallstones, and even if you have a pain-free period, it is likely that the pain will continue from time to time. Besides the risk of having symptoms, and discomfort for the rest of your life, there is also the probability of having some life-threatening complications that might require surgery anyway but under more complicated conditions.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, What Does the Operation Involve?
The operation is performed under a general anesthetic, the procedure usually takes about an hour.
Your surgeon will use laparoscopic surgery as this is associated with:
- Less pain
- Less scarring
- Faster return to normal activities.
Your surgeon will make a small cut on or near your umbilicus so they can insert an instrument into your abdominal cavity to inflate it with gas (carbon dioxide). They will make several small cuts on your abdomen so they can insert some other surgical instruments into your abdomen along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform the operation.
Your surgeon will free up your cystic duct and artery and will separate your gallbladder from your liver and remove it through one of the small cuts. In some cases there could be some gallstones outside the gallbladder, your surgeon will take some x-rays during the surgery to make sure, if the x-ray shows stones in your common bile duct, your surgeon may remove the stones during the operation or later using a flexible telescope that is passed down your oesophagus.
In some extremely rare cases it will not be possible to complete the operation using the laparoscopic technique. Here, the operation will be changed to open surgery, which involves a larger cut usually just under your right rib cage. Your surgeon will remove the instruments and then close the cuts.