Gallbladder removal, also known as cholecystectomy, is a surgery in which the gallbladder is removed. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ located in the upper right part of the abdomen, just below the liver. Its main function is to store bile, a liquid produced by the liver that aids in the digestion of fats.
Gallbladder removal surgery is usually performed if a person has gallstones or gallbladder disease that causes pain or discomfort, inflammation or infection. In some cases, it may be performed as a preventive measure in people with a high risk of developing gallbladder disease.
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Gallbladder removal surgery can be performed through open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in the abdomen and a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera at the end) is used to remove the gallbladder. In open surgery, a larger incision is made in the abdomen and the gallbladder is removed through it.
Gallbladder removal is primarily performed to treat problems related to gallstones, which are solid deposits that form in the gallbladder. Gallstones can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. If gallstones become large enough, they can block the bile ducts and cause inflammation and infection, which can be dangerous to health.
Gallbladder removal can also be performed in cases of chronic inflammation of the gallbladder (chronic cholecystitis) or in cases of gallbladder cancer.
After gallbladder removal, a recovery period of a few weeks can be expected. During this time, one may experience pain and discomfort in the incision area as well as nausea and vomiting. Most people can return to their normal activities after a few weeks, although some intense activities may need to wait a little longer.
It is also common to experience changes in digestion after gallbladder removal. Since the gallbladder is no longer present to store bile, bile is released directly into the small intestine. This can lead to diarrhea and other digestive problems in some people. However, these symptoms are usually temporary and can be treated with changes in the diet.