If your gallbladder pain is severe and conservative measures have been unsuccessful to alleviate your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend a minimally invasive surgical intervention to effectively address your gallbladder issues.
The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that rests underneath the liver and helps in digesting fats from the food by storing and releasing a fluid called bile. When the gallbladder becomes inflamed, diseased, blocked, cancerous, or contains gallstones, the body stops breaking down and absorbing fats in the food. This, in turn, can cause intense pain in chest and abdomen along with nausea or vomiting among other symptoms. These symptoms warrant medical attention in order to avoid complications and prevent the discomfort that a gallbladder disease may cause.
There are several conditions that contribute to the risk of gallbladder disease; gallstones being the most common. As tiny as a grain and as large as a ping pong ball, gallstones develop when substances in the bile begin to deposit and block the passageways to the gallbladder causing abdominal discomfort, vomiting, fever, and/or yellowing of the eyes and skin.
Other diseases include Acalculous gallbladder, which is inflammation of the gallbladder; Biliary dyskinesia, it develops when the gallbladder functions lower-than-normal; Sclerosing cholangitis, in which inflammation of the gallbladder and damage to the bile duct causes scarring; Gallbladder cancer, a relatively rare disease can spread over the liver and other organs; Gallbladder polyps, benign growths that occur within the organ; Gallbladder gangrene, results due to insufficient blood flow; and Abscess gallbladder, in which the organ becomes inflamed with pus.
People suffering from obesity or diabetes, being 60 or older, having a family history of liver diseases, or consuming medicines that contain estrogen are fairly vulnerable to develop gallbladder disease.
To diagnose the type of gallbladder disease, your healthcare provider will perform a series of diagnostic tests that may include medical history, physical examination, chest, and abdominal X-ray, Ultrasound, HIDA scan, an imaging test such as CT and MRI scan, and/or Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). These tests and procedures help determine the most effective treatment for your disease.
Once the disease is diagnosed, it’s essential to seek adequate treatment as untreated gallbladder disease may cause complications and even lead to life-threatening diseases such as pancreatitis, sepsis, and cancer. Commonly, the Surgeons recommend cholecystectomy – a minimally invasive procedure with less scarring, less pain, and better recovery time - for the removal of gallbladder stones.
The gallbladder removal surgery is performed using a laparoscopic surgical method that involves several tiny incisions instead of one large incision through which a laparoscope (surgical camera) and a few narrow instruments will be inserted to remove the gallbladder from under the liver. This procedure is beneficial for a number of reasons; it permits the patient to resume a normal diet immediately after the procedure, aids in rapid healing, allows same-day discharge from the hospital, and minimizes the risk of developing complications such as infection.
The bottom line is, the laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery has been recognized as a safe and effective treatment for gallbladder issues.