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Gallbladder stones are a common occurrence. One of the treatment methods for gallbladder stones is cholecystectomy. This is a surgical procedure that will be explained in this article.

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What is Gallbladder?

The small sac that is present under the liver in the upper right region of the abdomen is the gall bladder. It is connected to the bile duct from the liver. The gallbladder stores bile, the green fluid produced by the liver. The gallbladder is not a major organ. Even in its absence, the bile can flow directly to the intestines from the liver, without causing any problems with digestion.

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What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are stones that are formed in the gallbladder from the bile. These stones can vary in size,shape and color. These stones are very common and cause a lot of pain & discomfort. In some people, it causes no symptoms. However, in a few cases, the stones may cause inflammation of the pancreas or migrate into the bile duct. This may lead to jaundice.

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Why is Cholecystectomy Advised?

When the gall-bladder stones cause pancreatitis, colecystitis, or lead to the presence of gallstones in the bile duct , that causes severe bouts of pain, one may be advised cholecystectomy.

What is Cholecystectomy?

The surgical removal of the gallbladder is called as cholecystectomy. The standard procedure for removal of the gallbladder is called as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The older method of cholecystectomy was an invasive procedure called as open cholecystectomy.

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Open Cholecystectomy

In this surgical procedure, a 2 to 3 inch incision is made in the abdomen. The cut is made on the upper right hand side of the abdomen. The gallbladder is located and removed.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

In this method, 3 - 4tiny incisions are made. Through these incisions, laparoscopes are inserted to give the surgeon  a view inside the stomach. The gallbladder is removed through ne of these incisions.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is favored as it has a shorter recovery time. In some cases, the patient is allowed to go home after the laparoscopic surgery. Only when the gallbladder appears diseased or shows signs of other complications, the doctor opts for open surgery.

Procedure for cholecystectomy

What Happens Before the Surgery?

The doctor will explain the procedure and clear all your doubts. A consent form will be given to you that asks for your permission for surgery. Make sure you are given clear and precise information related to your medical history. Inform the doctor about any allergy that you may have. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything at least 8 hours before the surgery. Those who are pregnant should inform the doctor beforehand. Those with bleeding disorders or any other existing medical condition should declare it before the surgery.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Cholecystectomy is performed on an outpatient basis. The surgery requires the patient to be under general anesthesia. The patient will be asked to remove any kind of jewelry and asked to wear a hospital gown. An IV line will be inserted in the arm or hand. The surgical site will be shaved in case of excessive hair. The heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and oxygen levels will be continuously monitored.

In case of open surgery, the incision is made on the upper right side of the abdomen. The direction may be up and down or in a slant under the ribs. The gallbladder will be removed through this incision.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy requires 2 to 4 incisions on the abdomen. Though one of the incisions, carbon dioxide gas will be introduced. It will be used to inflate the stomach so that it is easy to spot the gallbladder. A laproscope will be inserted through one of the incisions so get a view of the insides. The instruments will be inserted through the third incision. The surgeon will view the monitor and remove the gallbladder. Once the procedure is complete, the laparoscope and instruments will be removed.

After removing the gallbladder, the bile duct will be directly connected between the liver and intestines. The skin incisions will be closed with the help of stitches or use of surgical staples. The wound will be protected with the help of sterile bandages or adhesive tapes.The gallbladder removed will be sent for further biopsy.

What happens After the Procedure

You will be shifted to the recovery room after the procedure. Here, you will remain under observation. The recovery period depends on the type of procedure one undergoes. The blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels will all be measured. Those who undergo the laparoscopic method, will be discharged the same day.

The thin tube inserted through the nose will be removed. This tube helps in removing any air swallowed into the stomach. Till the tube is inserted, one will not be able to eat or drink. Those who underwent the open method will have to be hospitalized for a day or two. One will be given something to drink after a few hours of surgery. Once this is tolerated, solids will be gradually given.


Once discharged, one has to make sure the incisions are kept clean and dry. The pain or muscle aches can be relieved with the help of pain relievers prescribed by the doctor. Do not take aspirin as it may increase the chances of bleeding. Speak to your doctor regarding the number of days you need to rest before you resume daily activities.

Prognosis of cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy helps in getting rid of the pain due to gallstones. Most people do not experience any problems with digestion as gallbladder is not an important part of the digestive system.

Risks of cholecystectomy

Every invasive procedure has its own risks. Some of the risks with cholecystectomy include:

This was all about cholecystectomy. Speak to your doctor for further information.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: Feruary 17, 2015

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