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 stones
- Gallstones in the bile duct
- Inflammation in the gallbladder
- Gallstones causing pancreas inflammation
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 that 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.
The 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.
Also Read: 10 Side-effects of Removing Gallbladder
How to recover after Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?
Recovery is an integral part of the treatment of gallstones. This is so because if you don’t follow any post-operative instructions there can be a risk of infection near the incision site as well as pain.
Here is a list of instructions that can help in the recovery after gallstone removal surgery. Although the doctor will provide tailored instructions, these are some general instructions-
It is normal to feel tired in the initial days after the surgery. It is important to take pain medicine as prescribed by the doctors. Moreover, don’t completely restrict movement take short walks 2-3 times a day.
You need someone to drive you home after the surgery. If taking pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, then do not drive absolutely.
For the first weeks after the surgery, do not lift any heavyweights. This also includes pushing, pulling, or pressure in the abdomen. In addition to this, practice 10 deep breaths every hour and cough every 2 hours.
After laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, the incisions are closed with a dissolvable suture and special glue over the incision. The glue will dissolve on its own hence, do not remove it from the skin. Yes, you can take a shower after the surgery and allow water to run over the incision.
In the initial days of the recovery, you have to keep a close eye on what you are eating. Gradually, shift to normal food after consultation with the general surgeon as there can be episodes of diarrhea or nausea temporarily.
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.
Also read: Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has a rare chance of any complication as it is a precise and most common procedure. Patients after surgery recover really quickly and resume normal daily activities quickly. Consult with the general surgeon or your doctor for more details.