What is a gallbladder? What is its function?
The gallbladder is a small, sac-like organ that lies under the liver. Its function is to store and secrete small amounts of bile. Bile is a fluid which aids in the digestion of food. In some cases of gallbladder disease, small stones (gallstones) may form and cause a blockage of structures called bile ducts. This may require the removal of the gallbladder. Even with the gallbladder removed, bile is delivered to the small intestine through these bile ducts.
What is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy? What are the benefits of having my gallbladder removed laparoscopically?
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure in which a surgeon uses several small incisions, special instruments, and, with the aid of a videoscope and TV monitors, removes the gallbladder. The advantages of having laparoscopic surgery are: a shorter recovery time, a short or no hospital stay, less scarring and less pain after surgery.
What are the risks involved with a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
As with all surgeries, there is a risk of bleeding and infection. Because the bile duct lies close to the gallbladder, there is a minimal risk (less than 1 percent) of an injury occurring to the duct.
Will I need to have any tests before my surgery?
Your doctor may order some blood work, abdominal ultrasound or an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography - read about ERCP)
How should I prepare for my surgery?
The evening before your surgery, a nurse will call and tell you what time to arrive at the hospital. Also, the nurse will give directions for parking and registration. The night before your surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke or chew tobacco or gum the morning of your surgery. Bring someone with you who will be able to drive you home.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Usually, you will be able to go home the same day. In some cases you may need to stay overnight.
What will I be able to do after my surgery? When will I be able to return to work?
You should be able to return to your normal activities and work within one to two weeks.