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The removal of the gallbladder, also known as a cholecystectomy, is done when you may have been diagnosed with gallstones that have become symptomatic, or because of a poorly-functioning or non-functioning gallbladder.

Normally the gallbladder will store bile (made in the liver) and release that bile into the intestines after a meal to aid in digestion of fatty foods in particular. Without your gallbladder you will still produce bile but it will trickle into the intestines more regularly than being stored in the gallbladder as usual. As a result of this change in the flow of bile, some patients will have some changes in their bowel habits after their gallbladder is removed, but this is usually well tolerated as your body adapts to this change over a period of time.

Since the 1980's we have been removing the gallbladder laparascopocally, which involves making several small (1 - 2 cm in length) incisions and performing the surgery with the use of small instruments through these small incisions and utilizing television monitors. In cases of severe inflammation or infection of the gallbladder, or in rare cases where there are too many adhesions from prior surgery, it may be necessary to make a traditional bigger incision under the right rib cage to remove it.

In most cases, patients that have a laparoscopic gallbladder removal will be sent home the same day, where as the older traditional technique will require 2-3 days in the hospital with a longer recovery period. We do ask that you not do anything strenuous (including lifting anything over 10 lbs) for 4-6 weeks after the surgery.


Link to the American Board of Surgery
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