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What is A Cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is a very commonly used surgical procedure for the removal of the gallbladder. Surgery is believed to be the most suitable option since it is better to remove the infected or damaged gallbladder rather than letting it damage the adjacent tissues and organs.

Types Of Cholecystectomy Procedures

Two types of gallbladder removal surgery are commonly used: open cholecystectomy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Open Cholecystectomy

This surgery is performed under general anesthesia. After taking all the aseptic measures, the surgeon makes only one incision, measuring 4-6 inches, in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. The liver, located in this part of the abdomen, is lifted up and the gallbladder is carefully removed. The incision is then closed and sutured.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

This is an advanced and minimally invasive procedure that is now being used worldwide. This procedure is also performed under general anesthesia. After the required aseptic precautions, the surgeon makes 3 to 4 tiny incisions in the abdomen, measuring 1-2 inches. A special instrument known as a laparoscope is used to perform this procedure.

Laparoscopes are pipe-like tubes that are inserted into the abdomen via these tiny cuts. There is a camera in front of the laparoscope which helps the surgeon look inside the abdomen. After removing the gallbladder, the incisions are closed with a couple of sutures.

Pre-op Preparations: Getting Ready For The Surgery

Certain measures should be taken before the surgery in an effort to minimize the occurrence of any complications.

  • Diet: The patient is usually advised not to eat anything one night before the surgery.
  • Solution for intestines: A special solution is given to the patient before the surgery. This solution cleans up the intestines and helps in viewing the organs clearly.
  • Stop medications: The patient is usually asked to stop most of the prescribed medications, especially supplements, to reduce the risk of bleeding during the surgery.

Duration Of The Surgery

An open cholecystectomy generally takes longer than a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The open procedure may have a variable duration, while the laparoscopic procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

Post-op Care: Speed Up Recovery And Prevent Complications

Patient care after surgery is essential. Keeping in mind the complications of the surgical procedure, vital signs of the patient are regularly checked. The wound is cleaned at regular intervals to prevent infection. The patient is advised not to eat or drink anything for a certain period of time.

The patient is usually discharged from the hospital on the same day or on the next day after the surgery.

The goal of the post-op care is to prevent any complications. Listed below are some of the possible problems that could develop after gallbladder removal surgery.

Immediate Complications

  • Hemorrhage: Excessive bleeding may occur during or right after the procedure. This is one the most feared complications.
  • Damage to adjacent organs: Adjacent organs, especially the liver, are at risk in this surgical procedure. Instruments may damage the liver causing it to bleed.

Late Complications

  • Infection: The surgical wound may get infected a couple of days after the surgery.
  • Hemorrhage: Bleeding may occur at the site of surgery which can cause serious health issues.
  • Broken sutures: Too much distention may cause the suture or sutures to break, which is an emergency.

Recovery After Gallbladder Removal

There is a wrong perception among people that gallbladder removal procedures do not need time to recover. The fact is that it could take at least a week or as long as 8 weeks for the patient to recover.

The recovery phase begins as soon as the incisions are closed with sutures. During the recovery phase, the patient may experience some of the symptoms given below:

  • Abdominal pain: The pain usually radiates within the abdomen. However, in some cases, the pain may radiate to the tip of the shoulders as well.
  • Nausea and vomiting: This is the most commonly experienced post-cholecystectomy symptom. More than 90% of patients are known to experience this symptom.
  • Throat ache: Sore throat is usually experienced because of the breathing tube that is inserted during the procedure.
  • Watery/loose stools right after meals: This may persist for four to eight weeks. However, it can be treated by adjusting the diet and choosing to eat what is suitable for your condition.
  • Pain, swelling, and bruising at wound site.
  • Bloated and gaseous abdominal feelings.

Keep in mind that all the symptoms of the recovery phase mentioned above are totally normal. You should not panic because the body needs some time to compensate its loss. The only thing to worry about is bleeding from the site of incision, which will need immediate medical attention.

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