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The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that sits beneath the liver in the upper-right abdomen. It stores bile and is attached to the bile ducts that come from the liver. These ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and intestine where the bile helps digest food.
Gallstones usually form in the gallbladder when there is excessive cholesterol/salt. Gallstones are usually small hard masses consisting primarily of cholesterol and bile salts that form in the gallbladder or bile duct. These are common medical problems. When they cause pain or other problems, treatment is usually needed.
How do I know if I have gallstones?
It is uncertain why some people form gallstones, and there is no known means to prevent their formation. Gallstones may block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder, causing it to swell and resulting in sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion and, occasionally, fever. A bloated feeling and frequent passing of wind (flatulence) can also occur. If the gallstone blocks the common bile duct, jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes) can develop. An ultrasound usually confirms the presence of gallstones.
What is laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
The removal of the gallbladder is one of the most common types of surgery being done. In the past, open abdominal surgery was the standard treatment. However, recent medical science development has paved the way for the faster, less painful procedure called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy or LapChole. It is the minimally invasive surgical removal of the gallbladder with the use of a laparoscope – a long, thin tube with a light source and camera lens attached at the end that allows surgeons to operate through small incisions in the patient's abdomen. Removal of the gallbladder is not associated with any impairment of digestion in most people.
What are the benefits of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is presently the gold standard in gallbladder removal because of the many benefits it provides patients:
- The one- to two-hour procedure requires only 3 to 4 small keyhole incisions in the abdomen (compared to a two- to three-inch incision of a conventional operation)
- Minimal scarring
- Minimal post-operative pain
- Faster recovery
Recent advanced technique which allows for single keyhole incision further minimizes the visible scar.
Excerpt from St. Luke's Medical Center advertorial.