By the term cholecystectomy we mean the removal of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is located in the upper right abdomen next to the liver. Its role is to collect and store bile. Bile is produced by the liver and through a small tube goes and stored in the gallbladder.
The gallbladder therefore acts as a “reservoir” of bile. After each meal the gallbladder contracts and sends bile through a small tube into the small intestine, where it participates in the digestion process. Bile is therefore a liquid that helps the digestion process.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the operation in which we remove the gallbladder by laparoscopy. It is one of the first operations performed laparoscopically in the field of General Surgery and nowadays it is the most frequent laparoscopic procedure.
The advantages of Laparoscopic Surgery are impressive:
Small surgical incisions
Quick recovery and quick return to work
Minimize postoperative pain
Less blood loss and fewer postoperative complications
Better cosmetic result
Gallbladder stones can form due to various factors. This condition is called cholelithiasis.
More likely to develop gallstones are:
Ages over 40
Gallbladder stones may not give symptoms to the patient for a long time. When the stones start to give symptoms they include:
Severe upper abdominal pain usually after eating
Nausea and vomiting
Inflammation and possible abscess of the gallbladder accompanied by fever
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
Pancreatitis which is a life threatening condition
GALL BLADDER POLYPS
Gallbladder polyps are a different entity. They are small tumors of the inner surface of the gallbladder. They generally do not cause symptoms. But if the size of the polyp exceeds 1cm then there is an increased risk of turning into a malignant neoplasm (cancer) and the removal of the gallbladder is required. Also, even if the polyp does not exceed 1cm but has a rapid increase in size in an US then again, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is indicated as the chances of developing cancer increase.
The diagnosis of gallstones as well as the presence of polyps is easily established by ultrasound scan of the area. Ultrasound is considered the examination of choice for this specific disease as it provides particularly accurate result. In order to perform the ultrasound, you must fasting for at least 6 hours.
The treatment for the above conditions is surgery and the surgery of choice is the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, which is performed through three small holes of 0.5-1cm. The operation is relatively painless and bloodless. The patient is discharged on the same or the following day of surgery and soon returns to his normal activities.
What doctor should I visit if I find out I have gallstones?
The appropriate specialty is General Surgeon.
In case of surgery, are only the stones or the entire gallbladder removed?
Cholecystectomy surgery always involves the removal of the gallbladder and not just the stones.
If the gallbladder is removed, will I have problems with the bile?
Often patients are confused and think that with the removal of the gallbladder there will be a problem with bile production. This is not the case. Bile continues to be produced normally in the liver with the difference that after the operation it is going directly into the intestine without first being stored in the gallbladder. So the process of digestion continues normally even after the operation.
I have been diagnosed with gallstones. Do I have to have surgery?
If we have any symptoms then the correct treatment is laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In the event that we have no symptoms but have co morbidities such as diabetes mellitus, then again cholecystectomy is recommended. When we have no symptoms and the presence of stones is in a random check up , then we have a recommendation for surgery in the presence of small stones (microlithiasis) as they are considered more dangerous. It is at the discretion of the patient to choose the path of the operation if he has no symptoms at all and the ultrasound does not show small gallstones.
I have been diagnosed with polyps in the gallbladder . Do I have to have surgery?
The answer is no. Surgery is necessary when the polyp approaches 1cm in size or has a rapid growth trend in consecutive ultrasounds as in these cases the possibility of cancer is increased.
I have been diagnosed with gallstones. Should I look after my diet?
A low-fat diet must be followed until the operation is performed. Fatty foods cause contraction of the gallbladder which can lead to severe symptoms.
What kind of anesthesia do I need for the cholecystectomy operation?
General anesthesia is necessary for the operation
What should I watch out after surgery?
After laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a few days of recovery at home are needed. There are no dietary restrictions
How long does it take to book the operation and how much does it cost?
The operation can be done immediately even the day after the clinical examination. The cost depends on the type of patient insurance