The gallbladder is one of those things that you never think about, until it starts to act up. It may be a small organ, but it can cause some pretty big problems. If you have ever suffered with gallstones, you know this already. So, let’s look at the signs of trouble and when you should consider surgery for gallstones.
What is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small organ in the upper right section of your abdomen. It collects and stores bile that is produced by the liver. This bile helps your body break down fatty foods.
Sometimes, people have pain and other symptoms from gallstones. These are small stones that form in the gallbladder. They can irritate the gallbladder and even block the flow of bile. Symptoms of gallbladder problems include:
- Sharp pain in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Indigestion with bloating, heartburn, and gas
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
The good news is that the gallbladder is not essential to survival, so it can be removed if it is causing complications.
Types of Gallbladder Removal
There are two types of gallbladder removal. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common method. The surgeon makes several small incisions, inserts a laparoscope and other miniaturized instruments, and removes the gallbladder.
The small incisions are then closed, and you are left to heal. This method is less invasive and normally has a shorter hospital stay. Normally you can leave the hospital the day after surgery. This procedure also has a quicker recovery time, normally about 2 weeks.
Next, we have the open cholecystectomy. For some people, laparoscopic surgery is not an option. If the gallbladder problems are too severe, or there is scar tissue already present in the abdomen, you will need an open cholecystectomy.
During this procedure, the surgeon will create a single, large incision in the abdomen to access and remove the gallbladder. The incision is then closed with stitches and covered with a dressing. With this type of procedure, you will normally stay in the hospital for 3-5 days and need 6-8 weeks for recovery.
Risks of Surgery for Gallstones
This type of surgery is considered standard. It is a safe procedure that is performed often. Complications are rare but as with any surgery, there are risks. These can include:
- Blood clots
- Bile leakage
- Heart problems
Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure and help you make an informed decision.
Surgery for Gallstones in Maryland
Do you have gallstones? If you are suffering with pain and other complications from gallbladder problems, you may need surgery. If you would like to learn more about the surgical options for gallbladder removal, along with the benefits of doing so, please contact Maryland Bariatrics today!