Know All About Gallbladder Surgery
Dr. Sachin Ambekar, a renowned Gallbladder Surgeon practicing at Minimal Access Smart Surgery Hospital (MASSH) in Delhi. With his extensive expertise, he is considered a leading Laparoscopic Surgeon and consultant in the North India region.
What is Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, also known as keyhole gallbladder surgery, is currently considered the “gold standard” treatment for gallstones. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that aims to remove the gallbladder in its entirety, along with the gallstones. This procedure offers the most effective solution for gallstone treatment, as solely removing the stones can lead to their recurrence in the future.
Understanding the Gallbladder and Gallstone Formation
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located beneath the liver. Its primary function is to collect bile from the liver, concentrate it, and transport it to the small intestine to aid in the digestion of fats. Imbalances in bile composition can lead to the formation of gallstones. There are two main types:
Cholesterol stones: These are the most common type, resulting from an excess of cholesterol in the bile.
Pigment stones: Smaller stones composed of an excess of bilirubin, a pigment found in bile.
Causes and Risk Factors of Gallstones
Several factors can contribute to the development of gallstones, including:
- Being female (although men can also develop gallstones)
- Obesity or being overweight
- Age 40 or older
- Certain liver diseases affecting bile flow
- Certain intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease
- Family history of gallstones
- Recent weight loss through diet or weight-loss surgery
- Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Gallstones
- Gallstones can become lodged in the ducts responsible for carrying bile to the intestine, leading to gallstone disease or cholelithiasis. This condition is characterized by severe abdominal pain, inflammation of the gallbladder, and, in some cases, jaundice.
Diagnosis of Gallstones
Gallstones are commonly diagnosed through various imaging studies, such as ultrasound, MRI scan, CT scan, or cholangiography, which involves injecting a dye into the bile ducts and tracking it using X-ray imaging.
Consequences of Untreated Gallstones
While certain small gallstones that don’t cause symptoms may not require immediate treatment, leaving gallstones untreated can have serious consequences. They can lead to inflammation in the bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, or pancreas, potentially resulting in infection, obstructive jaundice, or even cancer.
Treatment Choices for Gallstones
The preferred treatment for gallstones is laparoscopic cholecystectomy, commonly referred to as keyhole surgery. This minimally invasive procedure involves making three to four small incisions in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder and stones. In some cases, open surgery may be necessary, requiring a larger incision.
Candidacy for Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
In most cases where significant symptoms related to gallstones are present, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the recommended course of action. However, there are certain situations where this procedure may not be suitable, such as highly inflamed or scarred gallbladders, previous upper abdominal surgery, third-trimester pregnancy, obesity, complications hindering laparoscopy, or poor visibility of the organ. In such cases, an open approach is chosen for gallbladder removal.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered the standard and safest treatment for gallbladder disease. Compared to other treatment methods, it offers several advantages, including smaller incisions, reduced post-operative pain, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and minimal scar formation.