The gallbladder is located just under your liver. Its job is to store bile that’s produced in the liver until the bile is needed in the small intestine to digest fatty foods. While there are multiple diseases that affect the gallbladder, the two most common are:
Cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder, develops when gallstones block the tube that carries bile out of your gallbladder. This type of inflammation can also develop if a tumor, scarring, or a twisted tube blocks the flow of bile. As a result of the blockage, bile builds up in the gallbladder, which causes inflammation and can lead to serious problems such as a ruptured gallbladder.
Gallstones develop when the components that make up bile are out of balance. If your bile contains too much cholesterol, you may end up with hard cholesterol gallstones. Or you may develop bilirubin gallstones if there’s too much bilirubin in your bile. When gallstones block bile ducts, pressure builds up in the gallbladder, causing inflammation and infection.
Cholecystitis and gallstones produce similar symptoms:
After an initial bout with cholecystitis or a first gallstone attack, both conditions have a high chance of recurring and worsening. For this reason, most people with cholecystitis or gallstones eventually need cholecystectomy, or surgery to remove the gallbladder. It’s safe to remove your gallbladder because bile can flow directly from the liver to the small intestine, bypassing storage in the gallbladder.
Most cholecystectomies can be performed with laparoscopic or minimally-invasive surgery. This type of surgery is performed through several small incisions that are just wide enough to accommodate long, narrow tubes that hold surgical equipment.
One piece of equipment, a laparoscope, holds a high-definition camera that sends a magnified view of the surgical site to a monitor. Your surgeon at General Surgical Care looks at the image while controlling specially-designed instruments inserted through the other incisions.
Laparoscopic surgery safely and delicately separates and removes your gallbladder, while causing less post-operative discomfort and promoting quicker recovery time compared to open surgery. You’ll also be able to get back to your normal activities sooner and you’ll have minimal scarring.
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