What Is A Gallstone?

The gallbladder is an organ that is part of the digestive tract. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver and bile duct. Bile is used to emulsify lipids (fats) in the small intestine. Some people develop gallstones, or hardened material formed from excess cholesterol or bile. The likelihood of developing gallstones has been attributed to a combination of diet and genetics.

Most gallstones are small and get passed through the intestines. But bigger stones can cause obstruction and damage the gallbladder and other parts of the digestive tract and may need to be removed.  Symptoms of gallstones can include sharp pains in the right side of the abdomen, sharp pains in the center of the abdomen, or sharp pains in-between the shoulder blades.

What Is Cholecystectomy?

There are a couple of procedures recommended for the treatment of gallstones. In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a laparoscope and other specialized tools are inserted into the abdomen through small openings in the skin. The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide to provide the laparoscope with maximum visibility of the internal contents of the abdomen. A surgeon will place four devices, known as trocar, in the skin incisions, which will then act as ports for the other specialized devices needed during surgery.

What Is The Treatment?

Once in the abdomen, a surgeon will carefully lift the liver to get to the gallbladder. Attached to the gallbladder are the cystic duct (the main duct connecting the gallbladder to the bile duct) and the cystic artery. Before gallbladder removal, the cystic duct and the cystic artery must be clipped and separated from the gallbladder to reduce bleeding. Using a cauterizing tool, a surgeon will begin to cut the ligaments attaching the gallbladder to the liver. The gallbladder is then placed into a special bag inserted in the abdomen and pulled out of the abdomen through one of the small incisions in the skin.

What Are The Benefits Of Laparoscopic Surgery?

Doctors will most likely recommend a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, as it is minimally invasive and less painful. Cauterizing tools used during laparoscopic surgery reduce bleeding throughout the surgical process by burning the vessels, which will effectively close them off.

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