Athens Regional Health System
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Laparoscopic Gall Bladder Surgery (Cholecystectomy)

Laparoscopic gall bladder surgery (cholescystectomy) is a safe and effective way to remove the gall bladder and gallstones through tiny incisions in the abdomen.

The gall bladder, a pear-shaped organ, rests below the right side of the liver, and the main purpose of the gall bladder is to collect digestive liquids called bile from the liver. Bile is released by the gall bladder after you eat and travels through bile ducts into your small intestine to aid in digestion. However, there can be problems associated with the gall bladder.

The general problems with gall bladders are gallstones. They are tiny, hard masses of cholesterol and bile salts that form in the gall bladder or in the bile duct. The stones can block the flow of bile, causing the gall bladder to swell.

Gallstones may cause sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion and fever.  

Gallstones might be managed with drugs or diet, but they can only be treated with surgery.

Before surgery, your surgeon might recommend a complete cleaning of your colon and intestines. Patients will be advised to fast after midnight prior to surgery. It is important for your doctor to know if you take aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, Vitamin E diet medications or St. John's Wort.  Patients are also advised to quit smoking. 

The surgery will be performed under general anesthesia. Once you are asleep, the surgeon will use a cannula, which is a narrow tube-like instrument, to enter the belly button and reach the abdomen. A tiny telescope, called a laparoscope, is then connected with a special camera and inserted through the cannula so the surgeon can see inside the abdomen.

The doctor will then insert other cannulas to remove the gall bladder. Then, the surgeon will use an X-ray, or cholangiogram, to find stones that may be in the bile canals.

If more than one stone is found in your common bile duct, the surgeon might remove them with a specific scope, choose to remove them later or conduct an open operation to remove all the stones.

After the surgery, you may experience some nausea or vomiting. The level of activity depends on how you feel, but walking is encouraged. Typically, patients can shower and remove the dressings the day after surgery. You should be able to engage in normal activities within a week.

You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes, worsening abdominal pain, vomiting, draining from the incisions or persistent nausea.

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