Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal)

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What is a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for the removal of the gallbladder.

How is it done?

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is generally performed using a general anesthesia.  During the procedure the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide to provide room for the procedure. Through a small incision made at the navel, a laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen.  Three small additional holes are made to allow the entry of the instruments.  The gallbladder is located and the cystic duct and artery are tied off. The gallbladder is removed and the incision is closed. Sometimes an x-ray is taken on the operating table (cholangiogram) to look for stones or abnormalities in the common bile duct.

Why is it done?

Gallbladder removal is usually done to treat the following conditions:
  • Gallbladder disease, such as gallstones
  • Infection and inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Gallbladder polyps
Laparoscopic surgery  is associated with less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay, and better cosmetic results than the open surgical procedure.

Risks & complications

There are possible risks and complications associated with anesthesia, including respiratory or cardiac malfunction. Other complications include:
  • Injury to the bile duct, blood vessels or other abdominal organs
  • Minor shoulder pain (from the carbon dioxide gas)
  • Post operative bleeding
  • Infection
Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery.

Alternatives

Open surgery (laparotomy) may have to be performed in patients with bleeding; if there is abnormal anatomy resulting from acute infection; or where scarring from previous surgeries or infections prevent a clear view of the anatomy.

Candidate eligibility

The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient.
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