What is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy)?

WHAT IS THE GALLBLADDER?
Your gallbladder is a small organ in your upper abdomen. The abdomen is the area in the middle of your body that holds many organs, including the stomach and gallbladder.

WHAT DOES THE GALLBLADDER DO?
The gallbladder collects and stores a liquid called bile that helps your body break down food. Small, hard deposits called gallstones can form in the gallbladder. This is a common condition. If your gallstones cause health problems, doctors might do surgery to remove it. For example, you might need surgery if your gallbladder is no longer working correctly and you have pain. Your doctor will talk with you about this.

What Causes Gallbladder Problems?
Gallstones are often the cause. These small, hard deposits form in the gallbladder. They can also get into the bile duct, which connects the gallbladder with your intestines.

You are more likely to get gallstones if you:

Are a woman, have had children, are overweight, or are over 40.
You might also get gallstones if other people in your family had them. Doctors do not have a consistent way of preventing gallstones.

What are the symptoms of gallbladder problems?
Symptoms can include:

Sharp pain in your abdomen
Nausea and vomiting
Indigestion
Fever
Yellow skin – Jaundice is the medical term for skin and eyes that look yellow.
You might get jaundice if gallstones block your bile duct.

How do doctors find gallbladder problems?
Your doctor will probably order a test called an ultrasound. It shows the inside of the body using sound waves. You are awake during the test, and it does not hurt.

If you need more tests, you might have a CT scan or a test called a HIDA scan. The HIDA scan uses an injection of dye to show how well your gallbladder and bile duct are working.

How do doctors treat gallbladder problems?
Taking the gallbladder out is usually the best way to treat gallbladder problems. You might get some relief from changing your diet. For example, eating less fat can help. But gallstones rarely go away on their own.

You might have heard about treatments to break up gallstones or make them melt away (dissolve). Unfortunately, these do not usually work well.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery?
Smaller incision – Several small incisions, each less than one (1) inch long, instead of a 5- to 7-inch incision for open surgery
Less pain than after open surgery
Quicker recovery than open surgery – You might go home the same day you have your surgery
You can also go back to regular activities more quickly

Is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal for You?
Laparoscopic gallbladder removal might be the right choice for you because it is the most common type of gallbladder surgery. It might not be an option if:

You have severe gallbladder problems
You had earlier surgery in your upper abdomen

Ask your family doctor or other health care provider if this surgery is right for you. You should also talk with a surgeon who is trained and qualified to do laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. They can help you decide.

For more information on gallbladder removal, contact Dr. Choi to schedule an appointment 305-821-3795

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