The gall bladder is a pear-shaped organ that has an important role in the digestion of fat. The liver produces bile and the gall bladder stores it, releasing it when partially digested food is absorbed inside the small intestine. Gall bladder disease mostly occurs due to formation of gallstones inside the gall bladder. Gallstones are formed from cholesterol, calcium and bile salts. When they grow in size, they block the bile ducts and obstruct the normal release of bile. Gallstones are difficult to eliminate and in large amounts they can cause inflammation, swelling and even infection of the gall bladder. In serious forms of gall bladder disease, immediate surgery is required in order to prevent the occurrence of complications.
After the gall bladder is surgically removed, the process of digestion is slowed down, as the liver has to produce more bile when food enters the stomach and small intestine. Due to this fact, gall bladder surgery is recommended mostly to people who suffer from serious forms of gall bladder disease. Gall bladder surgery is considered to be the last resort in the treatment for gall bladder disease and it is performed only when the patients don’t respond well to drugs.
Gall bladder disease can be either chronic (chronic cholecystitis) or acute (acute cholecystitis). Chronic cholecystitis mainly causes inflammation of the gall bladder, while acute cholecystitis also involves bacterial infection and it can lead to serious complications. Acute cholecystitis often requires gall bladder surgery.
Fortunately, gall bladder surgery is uncomplicated and involves very few risks. Traditional gall bladder surgery (open cholecystectomy) is performed through a wide abdominal incision. The complications that can occur in traditional gall bladder surgery are internal bleeding or infection, but they are extremely rare. Due to the wide abdominal incision, the open cholecystectomy can leave post-operatory scars.
Modern gall bladder surgery can reduce the scars by making smaller abdominal incisions. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a new generation medical procedure and it usually leaves no visible marks. This form of gall bladder surgery is performed with the aid of a laparoscope, a tube-shaped medical instrument that is introduced inside the body. The laparoscope has a camera attached to it and the progress of the entire medical procedure can be viewed on a TV screen. For this reason, laparoscopic surgery involves smaller abdominal incisions and minimizes the risk of infection. This form of gall bladder surgery allows patients to recover rapidly and most of them don’t need more than a few days of hospitalization.
Although gall bladder surgery is uncomplicated, doctors recommend it only for serious forms of disease. Patients need to respect a medical treatment and a strict diet after gall bladder surgery, until the body gets used to the absence of the organ. People who have suffered gall bladder surgery need to eat less fatty foods and take bile salts tablets in order to help digestion and absorption of fat. Gall bladder surgery is effective, but has to be considered as a last resort medical procedure.