General Surgery

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If you have painful attacks caused by gallstones, your doctor may recommend removing your gallbladder. This can be done using a type of surgery called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The gallbladder is an organ that acts as a reservoir for bile. It contracts and releases bile after you eat fatty foods. The bile helps to break down the fats in foods so you can digest them. When the gallbladder becomes burdened by gallstones, or the gallbladder fails to contract and release all of its bile, this results in pain. At that point, a cholecystectomy is generally recommended.

Symptoms of gallbladder problems

During a gallbladder attack, you may experience:

  • Pain or aching in the upper right abdomen, right under the ribs or breastbone
  • Pain in the back or upper right shoulder blade
  • Nausea, vomiting or heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellowed skin)

The surgery

During a cholecystectomy, your gallbladder will be removed. The gallbladder is one of the few organs that can be removed and not require replacement medication. This operation is commonly done through a laparoscope, which will leave you with minimal scarring and pain, plus a faster recovery time. In addition, many elective laparoscopic cholecystectomies are outpatient procedures. The great benefit of a cholecystectomy is that after the procedure, patients no longer have symptoms.