gallbladder surgery

The gallbladder is a small organ near the liver that stores bile made by the liver before it passes to the intestines for digestion. Removal of the gallbladder is usually the result of an inflamed gallbladder, a condition called cholecystitis. Cholecystits is most often caused by a gallstone blocking the path of bile on its way to the intestines. This blockage can cause the gallbladder to swell, becoming inflamed and painful.

Because the gallbladder is not an essential organ, the main treatment is to simply remove the gallbladder, a procedure called cholecystectomy. After the gallbladder is removed, bile from the liver flows through the common bile duct and into the small intestine. This means that the body cannot store bile between meals, but in most cases this has little or no effect on digestion.

Unless there are other complications, removal of the gallbladder is a minimally-invasive surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis. There are several excellent options at St. Francis that provide little or no scarring:

Single-Site Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery

This procedure involves one small, crescent-shaped incision made just under the navel. Through this one incision, small surgical tools are used to remove the gallbladder. This surgery is done on an outpatient basis and requires just a few days of recovery.

Surgeon performing this procedure:

Single-Site Robotic Gallbladder Surgery

This procedure is performed through one incision in the navel. The da Vinci robotic surgical system tools are inserted through the incision, and the gallbladder is removed from the same incision. Because the incision is made in the navel, after recovery there is no visible scar. This type of procedure is also outpatient, with only days of recovery time.

Surgeons performing this procedure:


Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

Laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder usually involves three small incisions on the upper abdomen. It also is outpatient and requires minimal recovery time.

Surgeons performing this procedure:

Gallbladder, Gallstones and Cholecystitis

The gallbladder is found just under the liver, and its purpose is to store bile made by the liver. Bile moves from the gallbladder to the small intestine through tubes called the cystic duct and common bile duct.
Usually this part of digestion happens without incident. But some people, for unknown reasons, develop gallstones in their gallbladders. Many people have gallstones without any symptoms, or any idea that they are there. Problems occur, however, when a gallstone shifts and blocks the cystic duct. This can cause the gallbladder to swell and become inflamed – a condition called cholecystitis.

Symptoms of Cholecystitis

The classic symptom of cholecystitis is pain in the upper right part of the belly. This pain can sometimes move around to your back or right shoulder blade, and can be severe. In some people the pain gets worse when trying to take a deep breath, or gets worse after meals. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Your doctor can use ultrasound to see if you have gallstones. An imaging test called a gallbladder scan can help find blockages in the tubes that lead from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.

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