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Digestive disorders

Gallbladder Surgery and Gallstone Treatment- Introduction

This section contains a description of the process of having Gallbladder surgery and the after affects of the treatment.

What is laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder by a minimally invasive method (Keyhole surgery). The laparoscopic removal of the gall bladder (cholecystectomy) is performed under general anaesthetic so that the patient must be in reasonable health. It involves the following:

  • Making four small incisions, one inch or less, in the abdomen, including one in your naval.
  • Putting gas (CO2) into your abdomen, so that your gallbladder can be visualised.
  • A telescope attached to a tiny video camera is introduced and the abdominal contents are inspected.
  • Other instruments are put to hold and assist in dissecting and removing the gallbladder.
  • The gall bladder is readily located and is grasped with forceps. It is freed from attachments to the liver.
  • The cystic duct (a small tube, connecting the gall bladder to the bile duct) is dissected free of the fatty tissue that encases it and a catheter inserted into it.
  • A special dye may be injected down this and an x-ray of the main bile duct, which takes bile from the liver to the duodenum, is taken. This is to confirm that no gallstones have entered the bile duct where they could cause a blockage leading to obstructive jaundice. Once the X-ray has been completed, the cystic duct and the little artery feeding the gall bladder are clipped with little metal clips and divided.
  • The gallbladder is then dissected away from the liver and removed through the small incision beneath the umbilicus in a retrieval bag.
  • This type of gallbladder surgery takes on average about 1 to 1.5 hours, sometimes less.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy does not use dissolving agents to dissolve the stones or laser to remove the gallbladder.

The advantages of the Laparoscopic technique (Keyhole surgery) in terms of small incisions, diminished pain, short hospital stay and early return to normal activity were so obvious that it has quickly become the standard method of gall bladder removal.For a small number of patients the gallbladder cannot be removed Laparoscopically and if it proved that the laparoscopic procedure is not to the best advantage of the patient, the doctor decides for safety reasons to remove your gallbladder by the open (old fashioned standard) method.

What is the open method?
In the open method the gallbladder is removed through a 6 to 8 inch incision in your abdomen. If you have the open method to remove your gallbladder, your stay in hospital will be about 3 to 5 days. The surgical principle of the removal of the gallbladder is similar to that of the Laparoscopic one


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