What is a cholecystectomy?
- It is the surgical removal of the gallbladder.
- The operation is done to remove gallstones or to remove an infected or inflamed gallbladder.
- Using advanced laparoscopic technology, it is now possible to remove the gallbladder through a tiny incision at the navel.
What is the gallbladder & what does it do?
The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ under the liver. The liver makes about 3 to 5 cups of bile every day. Bile is stored in the gallbladder, and when food is eaten, especially fatty foods, the gallbladder squeezes bile out through the cystic duct and into the small intestine.
What is a gallstone?
The medical term for gallstone formation is cholelithiasis. A gallstone in the common bile duct is called choledocholithiasis. Gallstones in the ducts can block the flow of bile and cause swelling of the gallbladder.
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder, which can happen suddenly (acute) or over a longer period of time (chronic).
Perforated gallbladder is a condition when the gallbladder bursts or leaks, which happens only in rare cases but can be life threatening.
Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. The most common reason for a cholecystectomy is to remove gallstones that cause biliary colic (acute pain in the abdomen caused by spasm or blockage of the cystic or bile duct).
What are the symptoms of an infected or inflamed gallbladder (called cholecystitis)?
Symptoms of cholecystitis are:
- Sharp pain in right abdomen
- Low fever
- Nausea and bloating
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin) may occur if gallstones are in the common bile duct.
How will Dr. Kolachalam test me to be sure this is my condition?
Screening & Testing for Gallbladder Disease
Dr. Kolachalam will do a thorough history of your medical background, and current health status. The forms you fill our before your first consultation appointment help Dr. Kolachalam determine your predetermination for certain conditions, as well as family history.
Dr. Kolachalam commonly orders blood tests and ultrasounds
While gallstones are often found during tests for other health conditions, some common tests for finding gallstones and gallbladder disease are:
- Ultrasound: A technician glides a hand-held device over your stomach. The device sends sound waves to your gallbladder. The sound waves bounce off your gallbladder, liver, and other organs. The echoes make electrical impulses that create a picture of your gallbladder on a video monitor. If you have gallstones, the sound waves will also bounce off the stones and show their location.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: An X-ray produces cross-section images of the abdomen. Dr. Kolachalam reviews the images to find out if you have gallstones.
- Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan): A radioactive chemical or tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. Using imaging, the tracer is followed through your body to detect stones or problems with your gallbladder.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): During ERCP, a thin tube with a camera at the end is inserted down your throat to look for gallstones. If found, the stones can be removed during the test. You will be lightly sedated, so it will not be painful.
- Blood tests: Blood tests may be performed to look for infection, obstruction, pancreatitis, or jaundice.
What are some other Treatment Options?
- The patient receives general anesthesia.
- Then a small incision is made at the navel and a thin tube carrying the video camera is inserted.
- Dr. Kolachalam inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide, a harmless gas, for easier viewing and to provide room for the surgery to be performed.
- Next, two needle-like instruments are inserted. These instruments serve as tiny hands within the abdomen. They can pick up the gallbladder, move intestines around, and generally assist the surgeon.
- When the gallbladder is freed, it is then teased out of the tiny navel incision.
- The entire procedure normally takes 30 to 60 minutes.
- The three puncture wounds require dissolvable stitches and may leave very slight blemishes. The navel incision is barely visible.
Review the video below about laparoscopic surgery to get a visual idea of how this procedure is performed. If you have any questions or concerns, write it down. Please bring these notes with you to your appointment to be sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed.
Robotic Surgery using the da Vinci® system
With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons operate through just a few small incisions. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables Dr. Kolachalam to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.
Minimally invasive da Vinci uses the latest in surgical and robotics technologies. da Vinci is beneficial for performing routine and complex surgery. Dr. Kolachalam is 100% in control of the da Vinci System, which translates his hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. da Vinci takes surgery beyond the limits of the human hand.