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Cholecystectomy (Gall Bladder Removal)

  • What is Cholecystectomy?

    Cholecystectomy, also known as gall bladder removal surgery, is the surgical removal of the gall bladder. The gall bladder stores bile, a thick liquid that’s produced by the liver to help us digest fat. When we eat, the gall bladder squeezes bile into the small intestine through the main bile duct. Bile has a delicate chemical balance and is full of soluble cholesterol produced by the liver. If the chemical balance of bile gets slightly off, the cholesterol can crystalise and stick to the wall of the gall bladder. Over time, these crystals can combine and form gallstones. Gallstones can range from the size of a grain of sand to that of a pebble. Laparoscopic (keyhole) cholecystectomy is the standard of care for patients with symptomatic gallstones. The surgery is done using small instruments and a video camera, which are inserted into the abdomen through a few small keyholes.

    Gall Bladder Removal

  • Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gall bladder. Sometimes, these formations of gallstones block the gall bladder and prevent it from emptying. Gallstones can also irritate the gall bladder. If the gallstones are pushed out of the gall bladder, they can clog up the liver or pancreas.

    20% of the population has gallstones. People with abnormally high concentration levels of cholesterol or calcium in their bile may develop gallstones. Gallstones are more common in women. The risk of gallstones also increases with pregnancy, age and obesity.

  • In most cases, gallstones do not cause any problems. Patients may put off coming to see a doctor as symptoms are 'common'. When they do cause symptoms like abdominal pain (usually on the right side, just under the ribs, or in the upper middle part of the tummy), pain in the back or right shoulder, nausea or vomiting, and bloating or indigestion, patients need to seek treatment.

    Although the stones in the gall bladder can, in theory, be broken down with shock waves or chemical treatment, they often recur and the complications from such treatments outweigh the risk for gall bladder removal surgery in established surgical practice. Complications from gallstones include cholecystitis (infection of the gall bladder), cholangitis (blockage of the bile duct resulting in pain, fever and jaundice) and pancreatitis.

  • Symptoms of gallstones are often mistaken to be ‘gastric’ in nature. Symptomatic gallstones are best treated with surgical removal of the stone and the gall bladder. Advances in surgical technique and instrumentation allow the procedure to be done expeditiously and safely with minimal discomfort and disruption to daily life.

    In the conventional laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, 4 incisions are made through the abdominal wall leaving behind 4 scars with at least 3 scars in the upper abdomen being visible. With single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), a single incision is made through the umbilicus which is our body’s ‘natural’ scar, and thus no new scars are created.

    Other benefits of going for a laparoscopic gall bladder removal include:

    • Less discomfort
    • Short operation time and hospital stay
    • Reduced complication rate
    • Quick recovery time
    • Small scars
    • Short length of hospital stays, ranging from 2 – 3 days
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    There are 23 SpecialistsView All