The gallbladder is an organ that sits on the
right side of your abdomen underneath the liver.
Your liver makes bile which is stored in your gallbladder and then when you eat, especially
greasy food a chemical gets released from your intestine which causes your gallbladder
to contract. Your gallbladder is supposed to squeeze the
bile out drains down into your intestine and acts sort of like soap in a sink full of dirty
dishes; it helps imulsify the grease or fat in your intestinal tract.
A variety of things can go wrong with the gallbladder. Most commonly people form gall
stones. This is more common in women, and it’s more common in pregnancy.
But plenty of guys can have gallbladder problems too. When people form stones, the gallbladder
contracts and the stones can get stuck in the outlet to the gallbladder and then it
causes cramping, abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen.
Sometimes it radiates to the back and sometimes people will develop nausea and vomitting.
If the stone gets stuck in the outlet of the gallbladder people will have a gallbladder
attack that will not go away and they will probably end up in the emergency room. It’s pretty easy to make the diagnosis based
on the history and then we do an ultrasound of the right upper quandrant and we can see
gallstones. If people have symptoms of right side upper
abdominal pain which seems to occur with meals, then the HIDA scan is a test we can do to
see how the gallbladder functions. And if it’s not functioning right, those people
can often have their symptoms relieved by having their gallbladder out. Gallbladder surgery is a fairly easy surgery
to undergo as far as surgeries go. It’s safe, it’s minimally invasive and people
can come into the hospital, have surgery and leave the same day.
I’ve had patients who go back to work the next day. I wouldn’t say that’s typical. Most
people take a week or two off from surgery. All the stitches are underneath the skin so
there’s no suchers going through the skin, there’s just glue on their incision so people
can shower the next day. There’s no dressing care required. Most of
the time, people can eat whatever they want after they have their gallbladder out.
Sometimes people will have problems with greasy foods a week to three weeks after surgery,
but typically people can get back to eating whatever they want or what they were eating
before, but now not have the pain they were having. For people who have gallstones and are having
abdominal pain, we recommend they have their gallbladder removed. The stones can be the
source of the pain they’re having. Passing a gall stone is not like passing a
kidney stone. Should the stone get out of the gallbladder, it can get stuck in a variety
of places including the bile ducts or the pancreatic ducts.
People can develop pancreatitis or become jaundiced, turn yellow when a stone falls
out of the gallbladder. So whereas people have a kidney stone, we
can give them fluids and let them pass it, with gall stones, we don’t want them to pass
it. Anybody who’s having abdominal pain and has
stones on an ultrasound, we’re going to recommend having their gallbaldder out.
If people have gall stones and they’re having symptoms from their gall stones, I’d much
rather them come in and have their gallbladder out sooner than later.
There are a lot of complications that can occur by them not having their gallbladder
out. The more gallbladder attacks you have, the
more scar tissue you get around your gallbladder and your gallbladder can get scarred to your
bile ducts. It can be a much more difficult for somebody
who’s had multiple gallbladder attacks. Most people who’ve had their gallbladder out
don’t have any problems ongoing from that point. There’s a small percentage of people
who may develop diarrhea, but it’s a small percentage.
This is a fairly easy surgery to do laparoscopically, very well tolerated the complications from
surgery are low, the recovery is not bad at all.
I think this is a great operation.