Gallbladder Removals at Stephens County Hospital
Abdominal pain is a frequent cause of concern that brings people to the doctor, and in some cases, the cause is gallstones (cholelithiasis), dysfunction of the gallbladder (biliary dyskinesia or chronic cholecystitis), or an infection of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis). Any of these conditions can cause pain on the right side or middle of your upper abdominal area, which may be worse after a heavy meal. In some cases, the sensation is more like extreme fullness than sharp pain. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, and a fever or chills.
These symptoms should absolutely prompt you to make an appointment with your doctor since the symptoms of gallstones or cholecystitis are hard to discern from the symptoms of several other ailments. Evaluation of the gallbladder generally involves lab work and imaging. The imaging of the gallbladder is typically an ultrasound, but CT is also used. Additionally, there is functional imaging of the gallbladder called a HIDA scan.
Gallbladder Removal Surgery
If your doctor has recommended a gallbladder removal due to gallstones or cholecystitis, you will be referred to a general surgeon for a cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal surgery. Typically, a cholecystectomy is recommended once you have a recurring issue with gallstones. Usually, non-invasive approaches such as dietary changes are insufficient in eliminating gallstones and will not keep them from returning.
There are two methods of completing a cholecystectomy: a traditional (open) cholecystectomy or a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) cholecystectomy. At Stephens County Hospital, we perform laparoscopic cholecystectomies in most cases and would reserve a traditional approach for an atypical scenario due to the extended recovery time.
What to Expect on the Day of Your Surgery
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed by creating four small incisions in the abdomen, then a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon will view the operation on a video screen, and use specialized tools to access the gallbladder and complete the surgery. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy requires 1-2 hours of surgery under general anesthesia.
Once the gallbladder has been removed, your surgeon will suture the incisions and you will be moved to the recovery suite. Our staff will support you during your recovery, and most patients are able to go home within a few hours. Keep in mind that, although rare, complications can occur, so plan ahead in case you need to stay overnight.
After the surgery, expect to be back to most normal activities within one week, but do pay attention to your body and avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting until your incision has had a chance to really begin healing. Full recovery is expected within four to six weeks.
Choose Stephens County Hospital for your gallbladder surgery – our general surgery team is experienced and will deliver excellent results for your gallbladder surgery. Contact us today by calling 706-282-5664 to schedule an appointment or arrange a referral from your doctor.