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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy - Gallbladder Procedure

Since your gallbladder is an organ you can live without, many problems get better if your gallbladder is removed. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure that removes the gallbladder using a laparoscope, which is a thin, lighted tube that lets the doctor see inside your abdomen. The most common way to remove the gallbladder, this procedure is necessary when a patient has stones or inflammation in the gallbladder, causing pain.

What to expect

This procedure is done while under general anesthesia, and the surgeon will make three or four tiny incisions in your abdomen. The surgeon will insert the laparoscope through one of the incisions while medical instruments will be inserted through the other incisions. Gas is pumped into the abdomen to expand it, giving the doctor extra space to work.

The surgeon will cut the bile duct and blood vessels that lead to the gallbladder, then remove the gallbladder with the laparoscope.

During the procedure, the doctor will squirt dye into the common bile duct, which will be left in the body. This dye will help locate any other stones outside the gallbladder, which the doctor may be able to remove.

Most patients have some incision discomfort, nausea and occasionally shoulder pain for a few days after surgery, but many return to their normal activities in about a week. (The shoulder pain is caused by the gas that has to be put into the belly during the operation). There are usually no restrictions on lifting or exercising, but your doctor will advise you about your individual recovery.

How to Prepare

The doctor will advise you about any medications that need to be discontinued before the procedure. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before the procedure. You will also have to arrange for a ride home.