A gallbladder removal procedure – or cholecystectomy – is a common surgical procedure to correct chronic gallstones. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located just below your liver. The gallbladder’s purpose is to collect and store bile. In some cases, gallstones develop which can be extremely painful if they block the flow of bile. The only permanent way to prevent gallstones is to remove the gallbladder entirely.
Fortunately, this is a relatively routine, safe procedure and most people can go home the same day as the procedure. This procedure is typically performed using a small camera and special surgical tools inserted through four small holes in the abdomen. This is referred to as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Less common is an open cholecystectomy where the doctor makes a large incision in the abdomen. This is not an outpatient procedure.
Prepping for Your Gallbladder Removal Surgery
Preparing for a gallbladder surgery is like most outpatient surgeries.
Your doctor will request that you do the following:
Do Not Eat or Drink Prior to Surgery. You don’t want to eat or drink anything at least four hours prior to your surgery, save for a sip of water with your meds.
Stop Taking Certain Medications or Supplements. You doctor needs to know all medications and supplements you take as some can interfere with the surgery. Provide your doctor with a comprehensive list and he will let you know which ones to stop taking leading up to your surgery.
Prepare for an Overnight Stay. Even If It’s an Outpatient Procedure. It’s better to be safe than sorry. While most people go home the same day, there can be complications that require you to stay overnight, or even a few days. Make sure to bring a toothbrush, change of clothes and something to occupy your time along with you when you come in for the procedure.
Make Sure You Have a Ride Home. You will be in no shape to drive after your procedure. Make sure to arrange for a ride home. You also need a friend to stay with you that first night after surgery, just to be on the safe side.
What to Expect During the Surgery
Well, you shouldn’t expect much. You will be asleep during the procedure. Both forms of cholecystectomy are performed under general anesthesia.
The most common form of gallbladder removal surgery is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves four small incisions, specialized surgical tools and a small camera.
After the procedure, you may undergo an imaging test to check for possible gallstones and other problems in the bile duct.
Your incisions are then sutured and you are moved to recovery. The whole procedure typically takes between one and two hours.
Sometimes it is necessary for a surgeon to perform a traditional or open cholecystectomy. This involves the surgeon making a six-inch incision just below your ribs to remove your gall bladder. This also takes between one and two hours but the recovery time is longer.
Recovering from a Cholecystectomy
If you have a laser-aided gallbladder removal, you can expect to go home the very same day, though a one-night stay is not uncommon. It generally takes about a week to make a full recovery.
If for some reason, you require an open gallbladder surgery, expect to spend two to three days in the hospital recovering. Once you get home, you can expect a full recovery in four to six weeks.
Gallbladder removal surgery is something that the professionals at MSA are glad to help you with. We use all the latest technology and techniques to ensure that our patients have a quick and full recovery. Call today to setup your consultation!
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