Gallbladder surgery

What is gallbladder surgery?

Gallbladder surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the gallbladder, an organ located in the lower part of the liver that serves as a reserve for bile.

Why is gallbladder surgery performed?

Gallbladder surgery is performed when the patient is experiencing pain or presenting with symptoms caused by the formation of calculi (stones) in the gallbladder.

What does gallbladder surgery consist of?

The intervention can be minimally-invasive or open. In the first case the surgeon will make three or four incisions in the abdomen and through one of the holes will introduce a laparoscope (thin and illuminated tube connected to a camera that allows the surgeon to see the inside the cavity) and other instruments necessary to perform the procedure.

Subsequently, the specialist will insert gas with a needle to expand the abdomen and cut the bile duct and blood vessels leading to the gallbladder. Finally, the gallbladder is removed.

When gallstones are more severe or there are complications during surgery, an open operation is carried out. This involves making a small cut in the abdomen to open it and extracting the gallbladder through the incision.

Preparation for gallbladder surgery

Before gallbladder surgery, you must undergo certain tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, or certain types of scan (e.g ultrasound) so the specialist can assess your health status, and determine if you are suitable for surgery.

Care after gallbladder surgery

Recovery after gallbladder surgery will depend on the surgical technique used. Normally, in the case of performing an open surgery, 2-4 days recuperation in the hospital is recommended, and in the case of minimally-invasive surgery, day-case procedures can be performed, or an overnight stay may be recommended.

After you are discharged from hospital, postoperative recovery at home e.g resting and avoiding strenuous activity is necessary. Follow your surgeon’s instructions as recovery time depends on the type of procedure performed. You will also be advised how to clean your wound, and how to change dressings if necessary.