Gallbladder Surgery

One of the most common surgical procedures performed at Surgical Associates of Mansfield - and across the nation - is gallbladder removal surgery. This is a minimally-invasive procedure that is known as a cholecystectomy and it is used to treat symptomatic gallstones. We are able to perform this type of surgery either single-site robotically or laparoscopically. Many people do not fully understand what the gallbladder does, or what gallstones are. These are very common questions we field and we encourage patients to speak up if they are unsure about any information our surgeons are relaying. It is our intention to ensure you understand the cause of your discomfort as well as your treatment options. Surgery is not always required when suffering from gallbladder issues, but it is very common.

About the Gallbladder and Gallstones

To be clear, the gallbladder is an important organ in the body that stores bile. Bile is important in that it is the substance that helps our body digest food in the intestine. There are several different types of gallbladder disorders that may cause medical issues, discomfort, and pain. The majority of gallbladder disorders stem from gallstones. Gallstones are tiny, hard balls of bile that can clog your system and stop the flow of bile to and from the liver and intestines. When this happens, the patient may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
  • Abdominal pain in the center of the abdomen or just under the ribs on the right side
  • Fever
  • Persistent pain
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Itchy skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Confusion or mental fog
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

There is no specific reason that we know of as to why gallstones. However, there are certain risk factors that may contribute to an individual’s risk of forming gallstones, including being female, prior to pregnancy, over the age of 40, and being overweight. It is also important to keep in mind that gallstones are more common in older adults and may be genetic. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent gallstones, but surgery can correct the problem almost immediately.

In most cases, gallbladder problems such as gallstones are found using an ultrasound. In more complex cases, your physician may use an X-ray test, CT scan, or gallbladder nuclear medicine scan to determine if there is a problem with your gallbladder. While gallbladder problems like gallstones do not go away on their own, your doctor may have suggestions for temporary management, such as reducing your fat intake. As a patient’s symptoms worsen, surgery may be the only real solution.

What Can I Expect?

As mentioned, gallbladder surgery is quite common and is relatively straightforward. Using small incisions, a telescoping camera, and specialized instruments, the gallbladder is separated from any surrounding parts, including the bile ducts, intestines, blood vessels, and liver. The gallbladder is then removed through a small incision in the belly button. Because of how minimally-invasive this procedure is, most patients can go home the same day of the surgery and begin the recovery period. Traditionally, a cholecystectomy through an open incision has been performed in the setting of more complex gallbladder disease. However, our robotically trained surgeons have the expertise to perform even the most difficult cholecystectomy through a minimally invasive approach. Your surgeon will be sure to discuss your options with you, making sure you understand the risks and recovery stipulations.
If you have any questions about gallbladder removal surgery, gallstones, or any other gallbladder conditions, please do not hesitate to contact Surgical Associates of Mansfield. We are here to answer any questions you may have and are committed to ensuring your feel comfortable with your diagnosis and treatment recommendation