What is Cholecystectomy?

Cholecystectomy involves the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Although newer, less-invasive techniques are available, Cholecystectomy remains to be the most common means of treating symptomatic gallstones.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is now the first choice of treatment for gallstones replacing Open Cholecystectomy. Sometimes the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is converted to an Open Cholecystectomy for safety or technical reasons.

Effects of Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is done to treat cholelithiasis and cholecystitis. In cholelithiasis, varying sizes and shapes of gallstones are formed from the solid components of bile. The presence of gallstones may produce excruciating pain in the upper right abdominal area going to the right shoulder. The gallbladder then becomes the site of acute infection and inflammation causing upper right abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, which is referred to as cholecystitis. Basically, Cholecystectomy is the best answer to this disease.

Candidates for Cholecystectomy

Candidates for Cholecystectomy are those suffering from gallstones, infection or inflammation, gallbladder cancer, severe abdominal pain due to biliary colic, and blockage of the drainage tubes due to bile.

Your Consultation

During consultation, you will be asked to sign a consent form right after the whole procedure is explained. You are not to eat or drink from midnight of the day of the procedure, and enema may be ordered to clean out the bowel. A suction tube may be used to empty the stomach if nausea or vomiting is present. A urinary drainage catheter will also be used to lessen the risk of accidental puncture of the stomach or bladder during the insertion of the trocar, which is a sharp-pointed instrument, for laparoscopic procedures.

The Cholecystectomy Procedure

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy begins by making several small incisions in the abdomen to allow the insertion of surgical instruments and a small video camera. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor which gives the surgeon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. As the surgeon watches the monitor, he does the operation by manipulating the surgical instruments through the separate small incisions. Once the gallbladder is identified, it is then carefully separated from the liver and other organs. The cystic duct and cystic artery are then clipped with titanium clips and then cut. The gallbladder is removed through one of the small incisions. A Cholecystectomy can be quite meticulous but is usually over in an hour.

Recovery

During recovery from a Cholecystectomy procedure, the patient’s blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature are monitored. The patient may have hard time breathing deeply due to pain, and the effect of the anesthesia may cause breathing to be shallow. During this time, the patient is shown how to support the operative site when breathing deeply and coughing, and pain medication is given when needed. Intake of fluids and outputs is then measured, and the operative site is checked for color and amount of wound drainage. The patient is given fluids intravenously for 1 to 2 days until bowel activity resumes. The patient is encouraged to stand and walk 8 hours after the Cholecystectomy and discharged from the hospital within 3 to 5 days.

Patients are advised to gradually resume normal activities after 3 days. Avoid heavy lifting for about 10 days. Patients can return to work approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure.

Risks

Cholecystectomy runs the risk of having respiratory problems due to the location of the incision, wound infection, or abscess formation; having accidental punctures of the bowel or bladder, and uncontrolled bleeding; and finally, irritation of the muscles due to the incomplete re-absorption of the carbon dioxide gas.

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FAQs

What is a Cholecystectomy?

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Although newer, less-invasive techniques have been developed, Cholecystectomy remains to be the most common means of treating symptomatic gallstones.

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What are the benefits of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Since Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy does not require the abdominal muscle to be cut, it is less painful, quicker to heal and has fewer complications. Patients who have undergone Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy can be discharged on the same or following day as the procedure, and can go back to their jobs in about a week.

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What happens during a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy begins by making several small incisions in the abdomen to allow the insertion of surgical instruments and a small video camera. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor which gives the surgeon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. As the surgeon watches the monitor, he does the operation by manipulating the surgical instruments through the separate small incisions. Once the gallbladder is identified, it is then carefully separated from the liver and other organs. The cystic duct and cystic artery are then clipped with titanium clips and then cut. The gallbladder is removed through one of the small incisions. A Cholecystectomy can be quite meticulous but is usually over in an hour.

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What should I expect after a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy only requires the patient to stay in the hospital for a short while after the procedure. The patient can go home in the same or following day of the procedure. Recovery period is also short and yet the outcome is good, relieving 90 percent of the symptoms found before undergoing the procedure.

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What are the aftercare guidelines for the Cholecystectomy?

Care for patients who have undergone Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is similar to that of any patient who went through surgery with general anesthesia. Walking and a bit of exercise are suggested. Patients are advised to gradually resume normal activities after 3 days. Avoid heavy lifting for about 10 days. Patients can return to work approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure.

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What are the risks involved in this surgery?

Cholecystectomy runs the risk of having respiratory problems due to the location of the incision, wound infection, or abscess formation; having accidental punctures of the bowel or bladder, and uncontrolled bleeding; and finally, irritation of the muscles due to the incomplete re-absorption of the carbon dioxide gas.

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