Palm Beach Surgical PBHNPG

Minimally Invasive Gallbladder Surgery

The gallbladder is an organ which stores bile when food is not being digested.  Gallstones can form either in the gallbladder or in the common bile duct. As they grow in size, they can potentially block the bile ducts and cause intense pain in the belly that can last several hours. This is referred to as a “gallbladder attack.”  Gallstones can be temporarily managed through diet but don’t disappear on their own. Removing the gallbladder is the safest treatment of gallbladder disease. If left untreated it may lead to inflammation of the gallbladder (Cholecystitis), inflammation of the pancreas (Pancreatitis) or inflammation of the bile ducts (Cholangitis).

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of gallbladder disease is done through ultrasound (preferred method), computer tomography (CT) scan, or gallbladder nuclear medicine.  A surgeon may decide to remove the gallbladder if gallstones start to hurt or cause other symptoms. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is one of the most common general surgery procedures to treat gallbladder/gallstones due to its safety. During surgery, the bile ducts may have retained stones which are identified through x-rays during surgery. Injury to this duct is very uncommon and if there was damage to the bile ducts it would lead to leakage. It would be noticeable by symptoms such as yellowing of the skin, fever, and abdominal pain. Other less common complications include the development of hernias, wound infection, bleeding, or heart problems.

Gallbladder Surgery

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Dr. Ralph Breslaw at Palm Beach Surgical offers advanced techniques in minimally invasive gallbladder removal, skilled in the use of advanced minimally invasive surgical technology for surgical procedures. Mini-Lap Cholecystectomy is now available, thus allowing smaller incisions for a quicker recovery and return to normal activities.

Less Trauma – With Mini-Lap Cholecystectomy

The 2.4 mm shaft allows for percutaneous insertion, leaving a nearly unnoticeable scar and potentially less pain.  Without the use of a trocar, the MiniLap® System can provide the ability to add devices for triangulation and exposure.

What to Expect

Patients will be at the outpatient surgery center (Ambulatory Surgery Center) for the procedure.  All laparoscopic procedures require general anesthesia. In most cases, the patient will go home the same day and he/she can resume normal day to day activities within 3-5 days.  A follow up appointment is scheduled for 10-14 days after the surgery.

The Procedure

Gallbladder Surgery is usually performed in under 1 hour.  The patient should expect to be at the surgery center for about 3-4 hours. The skin incisions are covered with glue- allowing the patient to shower 24 hours after the procedure. Prior to discharge we ensure that patients are comfortable and can tolerate a diet before they head home.

Recovery

During the first week of recovery you should be able to resume daily activities but no exercise.  Most patients are back to normal after 7-10 days.

Are you a candidate?

Although there are many advantages to laparoscopic gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy), the procedure may not be appropriate for some patients. A thorough medical evaluation by your physician can determine if laparoscopic gallbladder removal is the appropriate procedure for you.