What Are the Gallbladder and Gallstones?
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that helps with the digestion of food. Your gallbladder stores bile and releases the bile during digestion. If it is working incorrectly, it can develop hard fragments called gallstones that range in size from a grain of rice to as large as a golf ball. Gallstones won’t go away on their own, about 80% cause other symptoms, such as pain, requiring the gallbladder to be removed. This is one of the most common surgeries, called a cholecystectomy. The surgery can be performed as an open surgery or a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
What to Expect During Open Gallbladder Removal Surgery
Open surgery requires approximately a 5 to 7-inch incision on your abdomen to remove the gall bladder. This procedure may be required if you have scar tissue, a bleeding disorder, are very overweight, or in your last trimester of pregnancy, among other possible reasons. This procedure is done under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep the whole time.
What to Expect During Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery?
This “keyhole surgery” includes making 4 small incisions rather than one large one. The surgeon inflates your abdomen with air or carbon dioxide to see clearly. He will insert a thin flexible scope with a light and a very small camera into one of the incisions. Then, using a video monitor as a guide, the surgeon will insert surgical instruments into the other incisions to remove your gallbladder. This procedure is also done under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep the whole time.
What to Expect After Gallbladder Surgery
After surgery bile flows from the liver, through the common bile duct, and into the small intestine, so no bile is stored between meals. This usually has little to no effect on digestion. The surgery may be done as an outpatient if done laparoscopically, or you may spend one to two days in the hospital. For open surgery, the hospital stay is typically 2 to 4 days. Most people return to normal activities within 7 to 10 days after laparoscopic surgery, up to 2 to 4 weeks after open surgery. Those who have the procedure done laparoscopically are usually sore for about a week, typically two to three weeks less discomfort than those who have open surgery. No special diets or other precautions are needed after surgery. After gallbladder surgery, some people have ongoing abdominal symptoms, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea (post cholecystectomy syndrome).
It is our goal at Central Valley Surgical Specialists to bring the highest quality surgical care closer to home through innovation and collaboration.
8307 Brimhall Rd. Suite 1706
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Monday - Friday: 8am – 5pm