Gallbladder Removal Surgery
The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ in the upper right part of your abdomen. It stores a digestive fluid produced by the liver that helps break down fatty foods. You don’t need a gallbladder, so surgery to take it out is often recommended if you develop any problems with it.
Who needs this treatment?
Gallbladder removal surgery, also known as a cholecystectomy, is a very common procedure. It is most typically performed to treat gallstones and the complications they cause. Gallstones develop in the gallbladder when the digestive fluid it stores leaves behind hardened deposits. They vary in size from small grains to large stones and can be singular or multiple.
Symptoms of gallstones include:
- Sudden and intense pain in the upper right abdomen, the centre of your abdomen, or just below your breastbone
- Pain between your shoulder blades
- Pain in your right shoulder
- Nausea or vomiting
- Digestive problems such as indigestion or heartburn
Your consultant can confirm the presence, position and severity of gallstones by ultrasound and will advise if surgery is necessary. An ultrasound can be performed using a probe over the abdomen, or may be performed endoscopically
If left untreated, gallstones can cause the following complications:
Cholelithiasis, gallstones in the gallbladder
Choledocholithiasis, gallstones in the bile duct
Cholecystitis, gallbladder inflammation caused by a gallstone obstructing the duct from which the digestive fluid, or bile, is released
Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas due to gallstones obstructing the pancreatic duct
What happens during gallbladder removal surgery?
A cholecystectomy is performed under general anaesthetic. It is usually performed laparoscopically, whereby a tiny camera and special surgical tools are inserted through small incisions to view your abdomen and remove the gallbladder.
A small incision of 2 – 3cm is made by your tummy button and smaller incisions of about 1cm are made on the right side of your tummy. Air is pumped into your tummy via a tube inserted into one these incisions to expand the abdomen, allowing easier access to the gallbladder. A laparoscope which has a light and camera at the end is introduced into the larger incision so the surgeon can view inside on a monitor. Specialised surgical tools enter through the other incisions and your gallbladder is taken out. Air is removed from your abdomen, the incisions are closed with stitches and a dressing applied.
In some cases, an open cholecystectomy is necessary. During open gallbladder removal surgery a larger incision is made on your abdomen below your ribs. Surgical instruments are used to extract your gallbladder. The incision is stitched together and dressing applied.
How long will it take to recover?
Typically, patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery will be home the same day as the operation. The first week they will suffer some discomfort that will require regular pain killers. In the second week, their condition will be much improved. Patients should eat fairly simple food in the first week with no restrictions in the second. Most people are back to work after two weeks.
Those patients who undergo open gallbladder removal surgery will normally have to stay in hospital for 2 – 3 nights and their recovery time will be longer. It can take up to six to eight weeks to return to work and resume other activities.
Patients will be able to eat a normal diet following a cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal Surgery)
At One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire, we can book you in to specialist surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms and, if necessary, gallbladder removal surgery.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Gallbladder Removal Surgery treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience