Although it is just a small organ, the gallbladder is used in the effective processing of food and nutrients. However, there are a few specific circumstances in which some or all of the gallbladder must be removed. Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world. But what does the gallbladder actually do? Why would you need gallbladder surgery? And what can you expect from gallbladder surgery recovery?
The gallbladder is only a few inches in diameter with the ability to expand and contract depending on its contents. The primary purpose of the gallbladder is producing bile. This bile is used for digestion and the eventual absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients. The gallbladder inflates as it fills with bile and empties as food passes through the small intestine, where the bile is secreted and fats are processed.
It is interesting to note that the gallbladder is not an essential organ for daily life. In many cases where the gallbladder must be removed, diet and activity are not greatly affected once the initial recovery has been completed.
There are a number of conditions which could require gallbladder surgery. One of the most common is the existence of gallstones. Gallstones, as the name suggests, are small stone-like objects within the gallbladder. Gallstones on their own are not problematic but may become so if they get lodged in a place where they should not be, such as in the bile ducts. When this happens, sharp, stinging pain can be felt in the upper right section of the abdomen.
Another condition which can require gallbladder surgery is cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder. Swelling and inflammation of the gallbladder can cause pain and impair digestion, as bile is not secreted properly. Instead, bile could build up and leak, causing intestinal discomfort. In cases like this, the gallbladder can be removed to reduce pain and decrease the risk of further complications.
Prior to your gallbladder surgery, your surgeon will most likely want to discuss your individual case. Even though gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed, every individual is different. Your doctor will most likely want to know about current medications, any pertinent medical history, and whether or not you have a family history of gallbladder problems or surgical complications.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions, but it is typical for a prescription to be provided that will empty the intestines to make for easier access to the gallbladder. Usually, it is important to avoid drinking or eating anything before your surgery. In a gallbladder removal surgery, or cholecystectomy, a small incision is created with the intention of removing the gallbladder itself. A small camera is inserted and used to guide the process.
Due to the relative simplicity and familiarity with gallbladder surgery, it is expected to be an outpatient procedure. That means that most people go home on the same day of having their surgery performed. However, in some cases, the doctor may wish to have a longer stay to monitor recovery. The average recovery time for gallbladder surgery is just a few weeks. However, even after the initial recovery is complete, it is important to minimize strenuous activities that could put a strain on the incision site. Heavy lifting, bending, or vigorous exercise should be limited. Talk to your surgeon for specific instructions following your surgery.
Do you think you need to have gallbladder surgery? Schedule an appointment with the best surgeons in NYC for a consultation today.