Cholecystectomy A Laparoscopic Surgical Procedure Guide

What is Cholecystectomy?

Cholecystectomy is the surgical procedure of removing the gallbladder. It is the technique to alleviate the pain that occurs due to gallstones.

What is a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Cholelithiasis is the medical term for the formation of gallstones. It is called choledocholithiasis if gallstones develop in the bile duct. Moreover, gallstones in the pancreas may cause inflammation, giving rise to a condition called pancreatitis.

Cholecystectomy laparoscopic surgery is the most common method by quite a lot of medical professionals since it is minimally invasive.

Why do doctors recommend Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

Not all gallstones need surgical removal. However, some may cause the gallbladder to inflame, triggering infection, and excruciating pain. This is defined as cholecystitis which could be chronic if it develops over a period of time or acute if it is a sudden development.

Also Read: What are Silent Gallstones and How to diagnose them?

Symptoms of Cholecystitis

  • Pain in the back, between the shoulder blades to be precise
  • Aching in the right shoulder
  • Sharp, unbearable pain in the right abdomen
  • Sudden pain in the center of the abdomen that may rapidly become unbearable
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice): This happens when gallstones form in the common bile duct

Standard procedure for treating the pain arising out of any of the severe conditions caused by gallstones comprises pain medication, IV fluids, and an eventual cholecystectomy. Doctors advise you about the precautions to be taken after the operation.

How To Prepare for Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?

Cholecystitis can be diagnosed after a physical examination by a general practitioner who may then advise the patient to consult a specialist. There are a number of tests that the patient may be required to undergo before opting for cholecystectomy. Here are some tests that doctors prescribe to diagnose gallstones-

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Once the doctors confirm the presence of gallstones in the body, they discuss with the patient about the possible complications of the surgery. After this, the doctor finalizes the date of the surgery.

Here are some general instructions that doctors ask the patient to do before the surgery-

  • Take a shower the night before the surgery with an antibiotic soap.
  • Stop eating and drinking prior to the surgery.
  • Limit taking certain medicines such as blood thinners, supplements, and medicines after proper consultation with the doctor.
  • On the day of the surgery, take the prescribed medicines with just few sips of water.

What to expect during Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?

A patient may need to undergo some tests before the surgery, for instance, abdominal ultrasound, urinalysis, blood work evaluation, and so on and so forth. Your healthcare provider may need you to help them with your health background, medical history, medications.

There are several small incisions on the abdomen. Thereafter, hollow tubes called ports to get inside via the openings. Post this, a tiny video camera and surgical tools get into the tubes. For a better view of the internal organs, the doctor inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide. The camera displays the image on a monitor. This aids the surgeon in maneuvering the surgical instruments for the removal of gallstones and gallbladder.

After the removal of the gallbladder, the doctor sutures the incisions. They may also use glue or surgical clips for this purpose. The procedure may take about 1 to 2 hours.

Postoperative Care After Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy 

In some cases, patients can go home the same day after the effect of the drugs wear off. However, some may need to stay for a night or two. The complete recovery usually takes about a week’s time. 

It is common to feel pain near the incision site in the abdomen as well in the shoulders. The pain occurs due to the carbon dioxide inserted during the surgery. Usually, the pain subsides within 24-48 hours. Moreover, initially, the patient is likely to feel nauseated and throwing up due to the influence of anesthesia. Eventually, this also subsides within a day or two.

Here are some measures one should follow after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to recover fast-

  • If the pain doesn’t subside, take the prescribed amount of narcotic medicine to get relief. 
  • It is okay to go up and down the stairs once the patient reaches home.
  • Take a shower the next day with/without the bandages.
  • Consult with the doctor before going back to work.

Read More: Food guide for patients who underwent gallbladder removal surgery

After Surgery Discomforts, Complications

Some patients may complain of the following complications post-cholecystectomy. Doctors, however, dub them as minor risks or symptoms and advise their patients to immediately consult them if the condition/s persist.

Read More: Side-Effects of Having Gallbladder Removed

Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery

Stating the findings of an article with the title, “Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy vs Open Cholecystectomy in the Treatment of Acute Cholecystitis”, the laparoscopic option is a safer alternative to Open Cholecystectomy in patients with acute cholecystitis. Moreover, it ensures a low rate of complications, a shorter hospital stay, and offers a more comfortable postoperative period. 

  • Relieves of severe pain and inflammation that may later develop into a chronic infection.
  • It may stop the re-occurrence of gallstones.
  • By not getting surgery, you may risk bursting of the gallbladder, acute illness.
  • In worst cases, it can cause worsening symptoms and eventual fatality.

So, this is hopefully all you need to know about cholecystectomy. If you have any complications around the gallbladder, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible as any delay will only result in the further worsening of your condition and overall wellbeing.

References

  1. http://www.sages.org/publications/patient-information/patient-information-for-laparoscopic-gallbladder-removal-cholecystectomy-from-sages/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/211505

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