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Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Surgery)

Laparoscopic and robotic cholecystectomy procedures are advanced, minimally-invasive techniques for removing the gallbladder. This may be necessary if you develop one of the many forms of gallbladder disease, including gallstones, inflammation (cholecystitis), infection, or a blockage (biliary dyskinesia). The problem with gallbladder disease is that it can remain asymptomatic for years, preventing early treatment of the disease that can sometimes be controlled by dietary changes. However, once you actually begin to feel the symptoms of gallbladder disease, surgery is often the most effective way to correct the problem. Otherwise, you may continue to experience pain, tissue decay, and digestive problems that can pose great dangers to your health. Our highly-skilled and experienced team of surgeons at Suburban Surgical Care Specialists/Kane Center are well-equipped to help you if you are experiencing symptoms of gallbladder disease.

What Does the Gallbladder Do?

The gallbladder is a small organ that stores bile produced by the liver. When you eat, this bile is sent through ducts into the small intestine to aid in digesting fat. When the gallbladder becomes inflamed or the ducts are blocked, this can eventually lead to a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe pain. 

What Are the Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease?

Some common symptoms of gallbladder disease include:

These symptoms are usually felt right after meals, especially after consuming fatty or greasy foods. Once patients begin to feel the symptoms of gallbladder disease, surgery is usually needed to remove the gallstones, or even the entire damaged gallbladder itself.

What Does Gallbladder Removal Surgery Entail?

At Suburban Surgical Care Specialists/Kane Center, our surgeons typically treat gallbladder disease with minimally-invasive surgical approaches performed either robotically or laparoscopically. Each procedure utilizes small incisions, which can result in less time spent in the hospital, a lower risk of complications, minimal pain, decreased blood loss, faster recovery time, and reduced scarring compared to traditional open cholecystectomy surgery. Read below for more information about each procedure:

Robotic Cholecystectomy

A robotic cholecystectomy with the da Vinci® Surgical System can be performed with just a few small incisions that are less than one inch in length, allowing our surgeons to carefully insert small robotic instruments into the treatment area. The robotic optics amplify the surgeon’s vision to better identify the surgical field and mimic the surgeon’s hand for increased dexterity with smaller, more precise movements. With this advanced robotic technology, the surgeon controls robotic instrumentation and a high-definition, 3D camera to perform a more exact and controlled dissection of tissues to remove the affected areas causing gallbladder disease. Overall, robotic cholecystectomy has proved to be an effective option for our patients with high satisfaction rates.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

For many years, laparoscopic cholecystectomy has been used to successfully remove the gallbladder when disease is present. Laparoscopic surgery is a delicate process that requires surgical precision and advanced skills to create incisions for inserting a laparoscope (a thin tube with a tiny, state-of-the-art camera on the end) to perform this advanced procedure. During laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, our surgeons typically make four small incisions each about half an inch in length on the abdomen. One incision is utilized to insert the laparoscope, which is attached to a viewing monitor to see the body’s internal structures and shows the gallbladder on a screen. The other incisions are used to position other surgical tools and remove the gallbladder and any gallstones. This effective procedure typically requires a recovery time of just one to two weeks.

How Long Does Gallbladder Removal Surgery Take?

The entire robotic cholecystectomy procedure typically takes less than one hour. Patients usually can leave the hospital the same day following surgery, with a typical hospital stay of two hours. 

What Can I Expect After Gallbladder Removal Surgery?

Full recovery from the minimally-invasive surgery generally occurs within a couple of weeks. By undergoing the robotic-assisted or laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedures, patients can experience a much shorter recovery process. Whereas with an open cholecystectomy, patients may require two to three days in the hospital, with a total recovery time of about four to six weeks. 

During the recovery process, it is important to be mindful of your diet and portion size to avoid gastric issues. Generally, patients should not eat fatty, greasy, processed, and sugary foods following surgery as they can lead to painful gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Our surgeons recommend starting with liquids and then slowly introducing:

To help you know what to expect after your gallbladder surgery, our surgeons will go over the recovery period with you, as well as provide post-operative care instructions to promote safe and comfortable healing.

Will I Have Visible Scars After Gallbladder Surgery?

The incisions made during a robotic or laparoscopic cholecystectomy gradually heal over time to be flatter and lighter in color. Fortunately, with these minimally-invasive procedures, the three or four small incisions tend to fade significantly over the first year and become less noticeable. Additionally, taking proper care of the incisions after surgery can aid in the recovery process and minimize the time needed to fully heal.

What Complications Are Associated with a Cholecystectomy?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to gallbladder surgery. Potential risks of a cholecystectomy include injury to the bile duct, bile leakage, pancreatitis, and remaining stones in the bile duct. However, a robotic cholecystectomy is designed to minimize these risks and our surgeons take the utmost precautions to ensure the safest possible treatment. More detailed information about the risks of your procedure will be explained to you before surgery, ensuring you can make an informed decision about your health.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about robotic cholecystectomy, or if you are interested in scheduling a consultation with one of our surgeons, please contact us today.

Medical Resources for Gallbladder Removal Surgery:

Healthline: Gallbladder Removal Diet: What to Eat and What to Skip