The answers to all the questions about gallbladder removal
What is the gallbladder and what does it do?
The gallbladder is a small organ acting as storage for the liver. It is located just below your ribs, on the right side of the body. The gallbladder stocks a liquid produced by the liver to help the digestion process, the bile.
What does bile do?
Bile is a liquid that acts as a lubricant for the small intestine that helps the body digest fat, get rid of waste and keep your friendly bacteria. It is produced in the liver, stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine after meal.
What problems can your gall bladder face and what are the symptoms?
The common issue you may have is gallstones. Most of the gallstones are formed because of an excess of cholesterol in the bile. Many people are not aware that they have gallstones because they do not cause any pain or disagreements and remain undetected. Gallstones can sometimes cause blockages in the bile duct that provokes severe pain. This can lead to inflammation or even infection of the gallbladder. If you experience abdominal pain for a few hours, nauseas, fever or a change of coloured of your urine or stools, contact your GP immediately. If your skin and your eyes turn yellowish, this is jaundice and it can be the sign of a serious liver or gallbladder issue that needs immediate treatment.
In case of a blockage due to gallstones, it may be necessary to remove your gallbladder.
How does a gallbladder removal take place?
This surgery is called cholecystectomy and is very common. It is a safe procedure and most of the times; you can leave the hospital on the day.
Usually, the surgeon will insert a small video camera through small incisions in your abdomen and remove your gallbladder this way: this is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
In case of complications, the surgeon makes a 15 centimetres incision below your ribs to remove the gallbladder: it is an open cholecystectomy.
After the surgery, you will probably undergo exams to check everything is all right and all the gallstones were removed, then your incisions will be sutured and you will be taken to a recovery area. If the surgeon practiced an open surgery, you may to spend a couple of days at the hospital to recover.
What are the side effects of a gallbladder removal?
Just like after any surgical procedure, you will need to rest before getting fully back to your normal activities. After a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, it would usually take you no more than two weeks to fully recover, while after an open surgery you may take six to eight weeks, according to the NHS.
You might experience some pain after the removal but it should not be too strong. You should eat a high-fiber diet as you can also face constipation. The doctor may prescribe you a laxative to avoid it.
In very rare cases, you can face an infection due to surgery. Visit your GP if the pain gets worse, you get fever, you start vomiting or if the incision gets too red or swollen.