Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, commonly known as lap chole, is a minimally invasive surgery that involves the removal of the gallbladder through a laparoscope. It usually treats gallstones and the complications that cause gallstones. Doctors recommend cholecystectomy or surgical gallbladder removal in the following cases:
- When the gallbladder has gallstones
- Gallstones in the bile duct
- Inflammation in the gallbladder
- Gallstones causing pancreas inflammation
As we know, gallstones are made of cholesterol, fat and other substances present in the bile. When the concentration of these substances increase in bile, it solidifies and forms gallstones. The size may vary from smaller than a sand grain to as large as a golf ball. Gallstones are more likely where people are obese or trying to lose weight rapidly.
Presence of gallstones in the gallbladder may lead to inflammation in the gallbladder. This can further cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, indigestion and fever. If the gallstones block the common bile duct, it may cause jaundice. When the diagnosis and treatment are not on time, the patient may develop a high-grade fever with rigors. Consult a doctor and get the right gallstone treatment.
There are factors that cause gallstones:
- Obesity or being over-weight
- High cholesterol or high-fat foods and low fiber intake
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Gallbladder motility where the gallbladder drainage is slow
- Rapid weight loss
How is gallbladder disease diagnosed?
Ultrasound is the most common test to diagnose gallbladder issues. You will need some more tests that include:
- Blood test along with complete blood count
- Liver function test
- CT scan constructs X-ray images of the abdomen
- Cholescintigraphy to test gallbladder functioning
How to prepare for laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
There are a few steps that the surgeon asks you to do before the surgery:
- The intestine must be clear before the surgery. There is a solution that flushes stool out of the intestine.
- You are not allowed to eat before the surgery but you may drink water. This avoids the complication before the surgery.
- When you inform the doctor about your ongoing medicines, he may ask you to stop certain medicines or supplements. Only take medicines from your surgeon as wrong medicines may increase the risk of bleeding.
What is laparoscopy and how is it used to remove gallbladder?
A laparoscope is a thin tube-like instrument which has a camera on top of it. Laparoscope goes into the body through one of the small incisions and other surgical instruments through other incisions. The surgeon is able to see the gallbladder on the monitor with the help of a laparoscope. Then the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide so that it becomes easy for the surgeon to create a hollow space for clear vision. The surgeon removes the gallbladder and closes the incisions using adhesive glue or sutures. Also, laparoscopic surgery takes place under general anesthesia.
Gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that collects digestive fluid called bile which originates from the liver. Bile is released from the gallbladder after having a meal for digestion. Bile then moves through the bile duct into the small intestine. There is no digestion problem after the removal of the gallbladder. Yes, it may take some time for your body to adjust to the changes though.
There are some cases, sometimes the doctor performs laparoscopic surgery but converts to open surgery. Though the process is not tedious, it may happen when the patient has already had past abdominal surgery or repeated gallbladder attacks.
As per the study, the conversion rate from laparoscopic to open is less than 1% for young healthy people. In the case of common bile duct stones, the conversion rate is 1.3% to 4.5%. This happens only when there occurs a complication, which is very rare.
Advantages of laparoscopic cholecystectomy
- Several small incisions instead of one large incision in open surgery.
- Less pain during and after surgery in comparison to open surgery.
- Quicker recovery. You may go home the same day after the surgery.
- Resume your daily activities the next day after the surgery.
- The chances of recurrence are negligible after laparoscopic surgery.
- As the incisions are small, the chances of infection are very less.
- You can soon return to your normal diet after the surgery, simply start with light meals during initial days.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has a rare chance complication as it is a precise and most common procedure. Patients after surgery recover really quickly and resume normal daily activities quickly. Rarely, the surgeon impacts the adjacent organs in the body. Talk to the surgeon or your doctor for more details.
Also Read: Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Tips