Cholecystectomy is the medical term for a type of surgery that removes your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is positioned below the liver in the upper right side of your abdominal area.
Your gallbladder’s function is to collect, concentrate and store bile produced by your liver. Bile assists in digestion and absorption of fats. If your gallbladder is removed, then less concentrated bile from the liver is slowly and continuously being released directly into your intestine.
Cholecystectomy surgery may be recommended when some sort of gall bladder malfunction occurs that causes chronic symptoms which do not resolve through other forms of treatment. These symptoms may involve:
- loss of appetite
- pain after eating
- nausea & vomiting
- fatty food intolerance
- upper right abdominal pain
The most common cause for a cholecystectomy to be performed is for treating gallstones in your gallbladder. Other causes for gallbladder removal surgery are:
There are two surgical methods a cholecystectomy can be performed, laparoscopic or open. And you won’t feel a thing because both surgeries are performed while you’re under general anesthesia.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive surgery done with the use of only four small incisions in your abdomen. Through one incision a tiny video camera is inserted to help guide the removal of the gallbladder on a screen. Special surgical tools are inserted through the other incisions. With an open cholecystectomy, about a 6 inch incision is made across the right side of your abdomen below the ribs. Muscle and tissue is pulled out of the way so the surgeon can actually see your gall bladder being removed.
The benefits of having laparoscopic versus an open operation is you’ll have less pain and recovery time is in a matter of a week rather than a month. This difference is because your abdominal muscles need time to heal from being cut and pulled back. Although laparoscopic surgery appears to be the best option, there are some circumstances for which open surgery is the preferred method, e.g. scar tissue or excessive bleeding.
After a cholecystectomy some experience uncontrollable diarrhea for a short time. Also, you may or may not need to make some dietary adjustments following your gallbladder removal. It varies among individuals how much the less concentrated bile and its continuous flow affects fat and fat soluble vitamin digestion. Some bodies adapt, while others have digestive problems.
- smaller, more frequent meals
- avoid high-fat, fried & greasy foods
- limit caffeinated beverages & dairy products
- gradually increase dietary fiber after surgery
Is a gallbladder essential for healthy digestion? Generally, the medical profession views it as non-essential. While those in the alternative medicine sector are more prone to label it a vital organ.