general-surgery

Gallbladder

Background:

Gallbladder surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) is usually undertaken to remove a gallbladder which is causing symptoms due to the presence of gallstones. Gallstones can cause symptoms of pain in the upper abdomen, usually towards the right side and often radiates around to the back. This pain can come on suddenly and last for a period of hours before slowly resolving. This is known as biliary colic, implying a pain that waxes and wane. It is usually exacerbated by fatty meals. If a gallbladder becomes inflamed (Acute Cholecystitis), the pain will persist, accompanied by fever, unwell and worsening symptoms. Usually this will require hospitalization for treatment with antibiotics or acute surgery. Gallstones can sometimes escape from the gallbladder into the common bile duct, causing blockage and resulting in Jaundice (known as choledocholithiasis, referring to a stone in the bile duct), Cholangitis (whereby the bile becomes infected, requiring emergency treatment) and Pancreatitis (when the stone obstructs the pancreatic duct causing inflammation of the pancreas, requiring hospitalization).

 

Post-operative care:

The surgery to remove a gallbladder (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) is performed under general anaesthetic and involves an overnight stay. After surgery, the patient is encouraged to mobilize and can eat a normal meal. Water-proof dressings are applied to the wounds (usually 4 small cuts) and there are no sutures to remove (the sutures are dissolvable). The patient will be discharged on standard pain-killers and encouraged to mobilize as tolerated. Some patients may find a very slight change in their bowel motion (becoming more loose) in the first few days after surgery. This settles quickly and the patient can gradually return to eating a normal healthy diet. The patient is advised to take it easy for the first 1- 2 weeks and can potentially return to light duties at work after that period. For patients whose job is physically demanding, it may take up to 4 weeks to return to a normal level of activity.

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