Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of gall bladder) is a surgical procedure in which the doctor removes your gallbladder with the aid of a laparoscope (small camera that can be inserted into the abdomen) and other surgical tools through four small incisions.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common way to remove the gallbladder today, but you should always keep in mind that a cholecystectomy cannot always be done laparoscopically and sometimes a larger incision is needed. The scars are very small. There are no alternatives to surgically removing the gallbladder when it is causing pain.
This procedure is performed when you have stones or inflammation in your gallbladder, causing pain. The gallbladder is shaped like a small balloon. It is attached to the liver and holds bile. Bile is produced in the liver and helps with digestion of fatty foods. Small particles of bile can form a sediment in the gallbladder that can turn into gallstones. These stones may remain loose in your gallbladder or they may block the gallbladder outlet causing pain when the gallbladder contracts. In that case the gallbladder may also become swollen, inflamed, and/or rarely start to decompose (become “gangrenous”).
DURING THE PROCEDURE: For the surgeon to see inside you with the camera, your abdomen must be inflated with carbon dioxide gas. This lifts the abdominal wall and helps the doctor see your gallbladder. The doctor makes three or four small incisions in your abdomen, puts in special instruments to remove your gallbladder.
POST-OPERATIVE CARE: Immediately after the surgery, you will be transferred to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit where you will be monitored closely for approximately 1-2 hours. Pain medications and breathing treatments will be administered as needed. It is normal to feel a little nauseous after waking up from surgery. This is an effect of the anesthesia. Simply inform your nurse and he/she will treat your nausea with medications ordered by your anesthesia provider. Most patients return to full, normal activities within 5 to 10 days. There are usually no restrictions on lifting or exercising. Ask your doctor what steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.