Cholecystectomy: Cholecystitis & Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, Gallstones
What is it?
Gallstones form in the Gall Bladder, which is a sac that stores bile, a digestive juice that helps the body digest fats. The gallbladder attaches to the liver. Food containing fat typically reaches the small intestine and a hormone called cholecystokinin is then produced in the intestinal wall and carried to the ball bladder. This makes the gallbladder force bile into the bile duct helping with digestion of fats. Sometimes particles in the bile harden or crystallize however, causing them to form gall stones.
These stones can be painful and usually form in people over 40 and in the obese. Women are also more at risk. Gallstones are not fun because they are quite painful and can produce many symptoms of poor health including indigestion, nausea, vomiting and severe pain. They can cause anorectic symptoms too. The pain is so severe it sends may people to the emergency room.
Gallbladder surgery is often recommended for people that present with gallstone inflammation or a condition called cholecystitis. Thousands of people seek medical help from hospitals ever year because of gallbladder problems. Many of them require surgical intervention. Often gall stones are to blame. A surgery is often recommended to help people with chronic problems with gallstones - cholecystectomy surgery.
Alternatives to Surgery
There are alternatives to surgery. Many people attempt to modify their diet and exercise to alleviate problems with gallstones. This can be helpful and beneficial, usually if someone catches the problem before it becomes chronic and a severe emergency. If you eat well and exercise and avoid a diet high in fat and refined foods you may find this works.
Other non-surgical approaches include:
- Oral therapy - here the doctor may administer drugs or other agents to attempt to dissolve the gall stones. These may work for small gallstones but have side effects including diarrhea and high blood cholesterol.
- Contact dissolution - this is an experimental approach which involves injecting a solution directly into the stones in an attempt to dissolve them. This approach can also cause irritation and may cause complications.
Usually if a surgeon recommends a cholecystectomy you are already to a point where you may need to remove the gallbladder. It is considered by most a non-essential organ and the cholecystectomy one of the more common surgeries performed.
Before the Operation
Preparation for the surgery will include taking a full medical history. A surgeon will evaluate your health and determine whether you are a candidate for laparoscopic surgery, which involves inserting a tiny camera inside the abdomen so that the surgeon can separate the gallbladder from the other organs including the liver, bile ducts and related organs.
This type of surgery will usually require only one day of recovery and one night in the hospital and allow for faster recovery. Open surgery may require a large incision in the hospital but for some patients is a better option. Once the surgeon determines the best surgery for you then you can prepare for surgery.
After the Operation- At Home
Usually at home you will take care to avoid infection by caring for your incision and avoiding irritation. Many people will have to remain in the hospital up to 5 days following an open surgery. Several weeks of home recovery may be necessary.
The more common complications associated with cholecystectomy include:
- Abdominal pain
- Infection, especially around the incision site
- Injury to the site or surrounding organs
Often the risk of infection is reduced when a patient is in good health prior to surgery and with the skill of the surgeon. Make sure you rest properly before and after surgery so your body is in optimal shape before you have surgery. This will improve your odds of a healthy surgery and recovery.
Gallstones are one of the most common problems experienced by people throughout the world. They cause nausea, severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Each year thousands of people report to the emergency room because of inflammation and infection caused by gallstones and related problems.
Often the solution to these problems is a cholecystectomy. Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries globally, and because of this one of the most affordable surgeries. A traditional open gallstone surgery has a much longer healing and recovery period than a laparoscopic surgery. Make sure you check in with your physician to see which surgery you are best suited to.
Estimated Costs for Gallstones Cholecystectomy
The cost of surgery varies from person to person although generally the cost of gallstone and gallbladder surgery is relatively standard. Laparoscopic surgery may be slightly more, around $500 more depending on where you have your surgery done. Traditional gallbladder surgery will cost significantly more because you are likely to have to stay in the hospital for a few days to recover.
Keep in mind there are also non-surgical alternatives to gallbladder surgery you can try to remove small and chronic gallstones from the gallbladder. When combined with dietary changes these may effect positive changes in your overall health and wellness. Once the gallbladder is removed you will want to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid future complications and enjoy a good quality of life.