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Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder.
We can perform two types of cholecystectomy: laparoscopic cholecystectomy (now a reference) or standard open cholecystectomy.
The gallbladder can be responsible for many disorders causing different symptoms such as abdominal pain.
Gallstones can provoke serious biliary complications such as jaundice, pancreatitis or cholecystitis (gallbladder infection).
The doctor will examine the different abdominal disorders to make a diagnosis that he will confirm with appropriate thorough examination. The surgical treatment consists in removing the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). Medical treatment is sometimes (rarely) preferred, especially in poor levels of general health.
This intervention will be combined with other techniques such as biliary catheterization or echo-endoscopy in order to diagnose or cure specific complications. Their order will be determined by the medical staff.
At the moment, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the standard preferential treatment. First-line open surgery is now marginal and used only when laparoscopy is contra-indicated.
What are the risks?
Haemorrhage (bleeding) during the intervention is very rare; blood transfusion is very rarely needed. Cholecystectomy is a standard surgical intervention; only anatomical abnormalities or specific complications are responsible for serious haemorrhages.
Liver lesions generally occur when the gallbladder is detached. In that case, subhepatic drainage can be required.
Gallbladder lesions: they are quite rare but always dreadful. Generally, they occur when surgical interventions need revision due to infections or when anatomical abnormalities or variations are found; these are never easy to identify. When surgeons do identify them, they can treat them successfully in the same time. But being unaware of them can result in secondary complications that are even more difficult to treat, generally leading to new surgical intervention or complementary endoscopic or radiologic investigations.
After the intervention, different complications can follow such as hematomas or deep abscesses, wall hematomas, bile duct leaks (rarer), etc.
Medical complications may also follow such as gastric ulcer, pancreatitis, phlebitis, etc. These are generally treated medically with preventive measures such as anticoagulants or antiulcer drugs.
What is the gallbladder?
It is a small sac-shaped organ beneath the liver, in which bile is stored after secretion by the liver. It plays an important part in digestion as plenty of bile is secreted when we eat.
It is a minimally invasive surgical technique aiming at injecting carbon dioxide into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity through small incisions in order to operate on the patient with the help of a camera. Specific equipment is required.
Can we live without a gallbladder?Yes, we can. The gallbladder is a non-vital organ which aids digestion. When missing, your body adapts and no significant consequence on digestion occurs. In rare cases, eggs, chocolate and some other lipid rich foods can be difficult to digest.
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