Netcare Greenacres Hospital
SASSO - South African Society for Obesity and Metabolism
Centre of Excellence

Laparoscopic gallbladder removal (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy)


Disease of the gallbladder
Gallbladder problems are usually caused by gallstones, which are small hard masses that form in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. These stones may block the flow of "bile", a digestive agent produced by the liver. As a result, the gallbladder may swell, causing sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, and indigestion.

Pre-operatively
Once the operation is scheduled, a physician at the hospital-or your personal physician-will evaluate your health and perform routine blood tests. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist before the operation.

You will be admitted to the hospital on the morning of your procedure. Because laparoscopic gallbladder removal is performed under general anesthesia, you cannot eat or drink anything after 22h00 the day before your surgery.

Procedure
The first step in laparoscopic gallbladder removal is the insertion into the abdomen of four "trocars", narrow tube-like instruments that require only very small surgical incisions.

Into one trocar, Dr. van Niekerk inserts a laparoscope, which is a telescopic videocamera that provides magnified and dramatically enhanced views of internal organs. Other surgical instruments are inserted through the other trocars.

During surgery, the bile duct and artery at the base of the gallbladder are severed from the liver using electronic instruments, then sealed. Dr. van Niekerk then empties the gallbladder of its contents and draws it out through one of the incisions. The incisions are then closed with skin clips.

Post-operatively
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room. In the hours following the operation, you will experience some pain from the small incisions made to permit insertion of the trocars.

Under normal circumstances, you will be able to return home the next day. At home, you will be able to take care of yourself and enjoy your regular diet. In as few as, three or four days, you can return to your normal routine. If you exercise, you can also resume a fitness program and sports competition.

After a few months, the surgical incisions will be barely visible.

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