Gallbladder removal surgery, also known as acholecystectomy, is a very common procedure.
The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ in the upper right part of your tummy. It stores bile,a fluid produced by the liver that helps break down fatty foods.
You don't need a gallbladder, so surgery to take it out is often recommended if you develop any problems with it.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is usuallycarried out if you have painful Gallstones . These are small stones that can form in the gallbladder as a result of an imbalance in the substances that make up bile.
Gallstones often cause no symptoms and you may not realise you have them, but occasionally they can block the flow of bileand irritate the gallbladder ( acutecholecystitis ) or pancreas ( acute pancreatitis ).
This can cause symptoms such as:
Very occasionallyit may be possible to take tablets to dissolve gallstones, but surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most effective treatment in the vast majority of cases.
There are two main ways of removing a gallbladder:
Keyhole surgery is used most often because you can leave hospital sooner, recover faster and are left with smaller scars than with an open procedure.
Both techniques are performed under general anaesthetic , which means you'll be asleep during the operation and won't feel any pain while it's carried out.
It doesn't usuallytake long to recover from keyhole surgery to remove your gallbladder.
Most people can leave hospital the same day or the next morning. You'll probably be able to return to most of your normal activities within two weeks.
It takes longer to recover from open surgery. You may need to stay in hospital for three to five days and it could be six to eight weeks before you're feeling back to normal.
You can lead a perfectly normal life without a gallbladder.
Your liver will still make enough bile to digest your food but, instead of being stored in the gallbladder, it drips continuously into your digestive system.
You may have been advised to eat a special diet before surgery, but this doesn't need to be continued afterwards. Instead, you should aim to have a generally healthy, balanced diet .
Some people experienceproblems such as bloating or diarrhoea after surgery,although this usually improves within a few weeks.If you notice certain foods or drinks trigger these symptoms, you may wish to avoid them in the future.
Gallbladder removal surgery is considered to be a safe procedure, but like any type of surgery there is a risk of complications.
Possible complications include:
Speak to your surgeon about the benefits and risks of surgery before your operation.
Read about gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy), including why it's done, what's involved and what the potential risks are.
Read about what happens before and during a gallbladder removal operation, (cholecystectomy), including the main differences between a keyhole and open procedure.
Read about recovering from having surgery to remove your gallbladder (cholecystectomy), including side effects, how long it takes to get back to normal, and driving after surgery.
Read about the risks of gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy), including infections, internal damage and blood clots.
Read the real story of Phyllis Long, who had surgery to remove her gallstones after doctors discovered 19 of them when removing her appendix.