Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery
You've had painful attacks caused by gallstones. To treat the problem, your doctor wants to remove your gallbladder. This surgery is called cholecystectomy. Removing the gallbladder can relieve pain. It will also prevent future attacks. You can live a healthy life without your gallbladder. You may also be able to go back to eating foods you enjoyed before your gallbladder problems started.
Clips close off the bile duct and blood vessels. The gallbladder is then removed.
Getting Ready for Surgery
- Tell your provider what medications, supplements, or herbs you take. THis include both prescription and over-the-counter items. You may need to stop taking before surgery.
- Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen as directed.
- Ask your doctor what to do if you take prescription blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix.
- Arrange for an adult family member or friend to give you a ride home after surgery.
- Don't eat or drink after midnight, the night before your surgery. This includes water, coffee, and mints.
The Day of Surgery
Arrive at the hospital or surgery center on time. You'll be asked to change into a patient gown. You'll be given an IV to provide fluids and medication. Shortly before surgery, an anesthesiologist will talk with you. He or she will explain the medications used to prevent pain during surgery. Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is done using general anesthesia. This lets you sleep during the procedure.
There are two methods for removing the gallbladder. Your doctor will choose which method is safer for you.
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is most common. During surgery, 2 to 4 small incisions are made. A thin tube with a camera is used. This is called alaparoscope. The scope is put through one of the incisions. It sends images to a video screen. Surgical tools are put through other incisions. The gallbladder is removed using the scope and these tools.
- Open cholecystectomy. One larger incision is made. The surgeon sees and works through this incision. Open surgery is most often used when scarring or other factors make it a better choice for you.
In some cases, safety requires a change from laparoscopic to open surgery during the procedure.
When the surgery is over you'll be taken to a recovery area to rest. You'll have surgical tape over your incisions. Special boots may be put on your legs or feet to prevent blood clots. You may also have some pain in your shoulder for a few hours. This is caused by the gas used during surgery. To help relieve discomfort, you may be given pain medications. You can go home once you're feeling better, often within a few hours.
Risks and Possible Complications of Gallbladder Surgery
All surgeries have risks. The risks of gallbladder surgery include:
- Injury to the common bile duct or nearby organs
- Blood clots in the legs
- Prolonged diarrhea
- Bile leaks
- Hernia at incision site