Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal)
The gallbladder aids mainly in fat digestion and concentrates bile produced by the liver. In humans, the loss of the gallbladder is usually easily tolerated. When the amount of bile and chemicals inside the gallbladder are imbalanced, gallstones may develop and irritate the lining of the bladder, causing heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Gallstones are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is not necessary for proper body functioning. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) does not require the abdominal muscles to be cut, improved cosmetic results, and fewer complications. Most patients can be discharged on the same day of surgery or on the following day. Typically, patients may return to work within a week.
In a small number of patients the laparoscopic method cannot be performed for gallbladder removal. Factors that may increase the possibility of choosing or converting to the “open” procedure may include a very inflamed and scarred gallbladder, obesity, a history of prior abdominal surgery causing dense scar tissue, inability to visualize organs or bleeding problems during the operation.
The decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment decision made by your surgeon either before or during the actual operation. When the surgeon feels that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather good surgical judgment. The decision to convert to an open procedure is strictly based on patient safety.