Cholecystectomy/ Gall Bladder

A cholecystectomy, more commonly referred to as gallbladder removal surgery, is a very common procedure. In the upper right portion of the stomach, we all have a tiny, pouch-like organ which we call the gallbladder. This holds fluid generated by the liver which helps to break down fatty foods, namely bile. However, sometimes the gallbladder may start to form painful gallstones, which can block the bile and irritate the gallbladder or pancreas. In such cases, you might need gallbladder removal surgery to stop the unpleasant symptoms associated with this condition.

Proven Success

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Typical Uses

It is likely you will need gallbladder surgery if: 

Gallstones often do not carry symptoms and it is possible to have them without knowing. Yet, sometimes they may block the flow of bile and irritate the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis) or the pancreas (acute pancreatitis).

In such cases, symptoms may include:

  • Flashed of intense abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice

When gallstones are accompanied by these symptoms, gallbladder removal surgery is usually the most effective treatment.

What It Entails

The aim of gallbladder removal surgery is to remove gallstones and eliminate any symptoms related to this condition. To do this, the surgeon will have to use one of two types of procedures; either a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery or an open surgery.

With a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, small incisions of about 2 to 3cm are made in the abdomen to allow access within. Next, a small tube is inserted into one of the incisions so that carbon dioxide gas may be pumped through. This inflates the abdomen and allows your surgeon to access your gallbladder. At this point, a laparoscope (a long telescopic camera) is then inserted through the larger incision, allowing your surgeon to view the inside of your stomach on a monitor. Finally – using special surgical instruments – the gallbladder is removed, and the gas is released so that the incisions may be stitched up and covered with dressings. 

In contrast, for an open surgery, one large incision  of about 10 to 20cm is made across the abdomen. Through this opening, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments which are used to remove your gallbladder before the incision is closed up again with stitches and covered with a dressing. 

How It Works

1.During the consultation

During your consultation, you will meet with our surgeon to discuss your referral and voice your primary health concerns. At this time, you will have the opportunity to share any information about your gallbladder symptoms - including any pain, imaging tests, medications and blood test results - and ask any questions that you might have to put your mind at ease.

Our doctor will also use this time to assess your overall health and fitness, and determine your suitability for gallbladder removal surgery.

2.During the procedure

During the surgical procedure, a general anaesthetic is administered to ensure your comfort throughout. Once the anaesthesia has taken effect, our surgeon will start by making the required incisions using either a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure (where incisions are made in the abdomen to access and remove your gallbladder) or an open surgery (when one large incision is made across the abdomen to access and remove the gallbladder). Whichever procedure is chosen, both are equally effective.

3.After the treatment

Before going home to recover from surgery, you will be given specific instructions on: how to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, what medications to apply or take orally to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Your recovery from gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) depends on whether you had a laparoscopic (keyhole) or open procedure. When getting keyhole surgery, most people are able to leave the hospital on the same day of the operation and many are able to return to their normal activities after two weeks. However, following open surgery, you will need to stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days, and it may take you around 3 to 4 weeks to return to resume normal activities.

How It Works

1.During the consultation

During your consultation, you will meet with our surgeon to discuss your referral and voice your primary health concerns. At this time, you will have the opportunity to share any information about your gallbladder symptoms - including any pain, imaging tests, medications and blood test results - and ask any questions that you might have to put your mind at ease. Our doctor will also use this time to assess your overall health and fitness, and determine your suitability for gallbladder removal surgery.

2.During the procedure

During the surgical procedure, a general anaesthetic is administered to ensure your comfort throughout. Once the anaesthesia has taken effect, our surgeon will start by making the required incisions using either a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure (where incisions are made in the abdomen to access and remove your gallbladder) or an open surgery (when one large incision is made across the abdomen to access and remove the gallbladder). Whichever procedure is chosen, both are equally effective.

3. After the treatment

Before going home to recover from surgery, you will be given specific instructions on: how to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, what medications to apply or take orally to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Your recovery from gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) depends on whether you had a laparoscopic (keyhole) or open procedure. When getting keyhole surgery, most people are able to leave the hospital on the same day of the operation and many are able to return to their normal activities after two weeks. However, following open surgery, you will need to stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days, and it may take you around 3 to 4 weeks to return to resume normal activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

As with any major surgical procedure, side effects may occur, and the risks and potential complications will be discussed in detail during the initial consultation. The possible risks of gallbladder removal may include:

  • Problems with anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Bile leakage
  • Damage to a bile duct
  • Damage to your intestine, bowel, or blood vessels
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • Heart problems
  • Pneumonia

In the majority of cases, it is possible to lead a very normal life without a gallbladder. Bile will still be produced by the river, helping you to break down your food, but will simply not be stored in the gallbladder. 

Most people don't experience digestive issues after gallbladder removal, but in some cases, you might need to adjust your eating habits to ensure that you maintain a healthy, balance diet, and reduce the likelihood of stomach irritation. 

Follow-Up Procedures

After two to three weeks after being discharged from gallbladder surgery, it is important to schedule a follow up session with your surgeon. 

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