Gallbladder removal is one of the most common surgerical procedures performed worldwide. The gallbladder is an organ located below the liver, in the right upper region of the abdomen. It’s function is to store bile, which is made in the liver, which is necessary in the digestion of fatty foods. Gallstones are the most common reason for requiring surgical removal of the gallbladder. Gallstones develop when there is an imbalance in the levels of bile salts and cholesterol within the bile fluid. These stones can then lead to an obstruction of the gallbladder duct causing inflammation. Inflammation of the gallbladder is referred to as cholecystitis. An ultrasound is typically performed to determine if gallstones and inflammation are present. The second most common cause of gallbladder disease requiring surgical removal of the gallbladder is a process known as biliary dyskinesia. Biliary dyskinesia is a poorly functioning or paralyzed gallbladder. A PIPIDA scan will be performed to determine if there is a properly functioning gallbladder in cases of biliary dyskinesia. Further imaging such as a CAT scan or MRCP may also be performed under certain clinical circumstances. Once it has been determined that gallbladder surgery is necessary secondary to gallbladder disease, the gallbladder is removed through a surgical procedure referred to as a cholecystectomy. The term cholecystectomy simply means removal of the gallbladder. This is typically performed under a minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery, where the entire procedure is performed with very small incisions, resulting in less pain, improved cosmesis, and reduced chance of complications.
Patients spend one night in the hospital for observation, and are normally discharged the next morning.