Gallbladder Surgery Somerville & Hillsborough, NJ
Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder — a pear-shaped organ found on the upper right of the abdomen, situated just below the liver. The function of the gallbladder is to collect and store a digestive fluid known as bile. Bile is produced in the liver and is an aid in digestion.
Gallstones, small hard masses formed from calcium and other materials, can form and block the flow of bile causing pain. In this case, a cholecystectomy may be needed. This surgical procedure is common and only comes with minimal risks. With the majority of Central Jersey Surgeon’s patients, they are allowed and feel well enough to go home on the same day of their surgery.
Visit us in Hillsborough, NJ to learn more about diagnosis and surgery.
During cholecystectomy, the surgeon inserts a lighted viewing instrument called a laparoscope, along with the necessary surgical tools, into your abdomen through several small incisions. The gall bladder is removed and your incisions are closed. This technique is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In other cases, when laparoscopic surgery isn’t an option, a large incision has to be made in order to remove the gallbladder. This technique is known as open cholecystectomy. Learn more below.
Cholecystectomy treats gallstone formation and its complications. Our doctors at Central Jersey Surgeons may suggest that you undergo the procedure if there are gallstones in your gallbladder (cholelithiasis), in your bile duct (choledocholithiasis), or your gallbladder is inflamed (cholecystitis).
What are the symptoms from gallstones?
The main symptom of gallstones is pain, occurring most commonly:
- In the upper abdomen
- Between the shoulder blades
- Under the right shoulder
This pain can last from several minutes to several hours. However, some people with gallstones have no symptoms, or “silent stones.” Gallstone symptoms can also include sweating, fever, vomiting, and jaundice (yellow cast to skin and whites of eyes).
What does gallbladder surgery look like?
- A laparoscopic cholecystectomy – is a minimally invasive procedure, performed by making several small incisions in the abdomen. A narrow tube with a camera at its end is inserted through one of the incisions, allowing our surgeons at Central Jersey Surgeons to clearly see an enlarged image of the gallbladder on a TV screen and precisely remove it.
- A cholecystectomy – is an open procedure performed through a single large incision in the abdomen. This method is most commonly used for patients with certain complications that would make it difficult or impossible to use the laparoscope, such as inflammation, infection or major scarring from a previous procedure.
- An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – procedure is used if there are gallstones in the bile duct. Gallstones in the bile ducts usually need to be removed, even if there are no symptoms.
How long is recovery after a gallbladder surgery?
Recovery time varies, depending on which procedure is used, as well as the patient’s overall health. In general:
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy doesn’t normally require a hospital stay, with most patients going home the same day of the procedure. A one-night hospital stay is occasionally required. Patients are usually released from our New Jersey center when they’re able to eat and drink without pain and walk without assistance. People undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be able to go back to work in a few days, and it can take about one to two weeks to recover fully.
- Open cholecystectomy patients may spend anywhere from two to five days in the hospital. They may not be able to return to work for a week or more, and it can take four to six weeks to fully recover.
What are my treatment options for gallstones?
- Surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common treatment for gallstones that are causing pain. In 90% of cases, the surgery is performed laparoscopically. Both laparoscopic and open cholecystectomy procedures eliminate gallstones and can prevent related gallbladder problems and diseases, such as pancreatitis. Gallstones with no symptoms don’t usually require treatment.
- Non-surgical treatment
The doctor may try certain drugs that can, in cases of cholesterol-type stones only, dissolve them. Patients usually have to take these drugs for months or even years in order to dissolve the stones, and they may recur within five years.
Some patients with less severe gallstones or beginning signs of potential gallstone formation may choose to try and manage pain and avoid future attacks with a restrictive diet.
What is a gallbladder?
The gallbladder is an organ that resembles a small pear, located under the liver on the right side of the abdomen. The gallbladder stores and dispenses bile, a fluid produced by the liver that helps digest food, particularly the fats in the foods we eat. The gallbladder is connected to the liver and the intestine by the hepatic, cystic and the common bile duct. When we eat, the gallbladder sends bile through the common bile duct into the intestine.