What is Cholecystectomy?
Cholecystectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures and refers to gallbladder removal. Most often the doctors will advise it in case of advanced cholelithiasis ( gallstones presence in a gallbladder) and its complications. Nowadays, in most cases, surgeons will perform Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy against rare cases of the classical method (laparotomy). The exceptions are rare and involve patients who have previously had gallbladder surgery, have internal bleeding or other problems that interfere with performing the procedure. Factors that increase the likelihood of proceeding with open surgery are for example:
- Abdominal surgery in the past
- Bleeding during surgery
Cholecystectomy indications. When to remove the gallbladder?
Urgent cholecystectomy is indicated in patients with symptoms of dangerous cholelithiasis complications such as acute inflammation, hydrocele, or bladder empyema. In such cases, the doctors will advise surgery soon after the onset of symptoms, usually during the first day of the patient’s stay in the hospital.
Planned cholecystectomy is performed when diagnosed cholelithiasis or inflammation of the gallbladder is accompanied by frequent pain and discomfort. The surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most effective and common method of treatment. The doctors will also recommend it in young patients, patients whose gallbladder deposits are large, and when there is a high risk of serious complications.
What happens during gallbladder operation?
Traditional Cholecystectomy (Laparotomy) involves the incision of the abdomen in its upper part (the incision runs vertically downwards or diagonally, in the middle of the abdominal cavity or on its right side), and then ligating gallbladder vessels and the alveolar duct, and removing it completely.
During the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, the surgeon will insert a laparoscope (optical device consisting of a camera, a light source, and a telescope) through a small incision in the patient’s abdomen area. The surgeon will closely observe the gallbladder on the monitor screen and perform the procedure precisely, while the patient stays under general anesthesia.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive, less stressful and brings a much lower risk of complications than the traditional gallbladder operation. It’s also worth to mention that scars after this type of surgery will be very small.
How to prepare for cholecystectomy?
Like any other surgery, cholecystectomy requires proper preparation. Doctors will order blood tests, chest X-ray and heart ECG before the procedure, and they may recommend cleansing the intestine by going on a liquid diet a few days before the procedure. You should not eat or drink anything a few hours before the surgery and tell your doctor about the medicines you are taking permanently. If you take any anticoagulants medicines, discontinue them a few days before the procedure.
The laparoscopic cholecystectomy method carries a small risk of complications. However, damage of the bile ducts and bleeding are possible which may require a restorative operation. Deaths after this type of surgery are extremely rare and most often caused by other serious diseases.
After the surgery.
After the Cholecystectomy, the hospital staff will probably transfer you to your room. Within a few hours after the operation, pain, bloating and stool retention may occur. The return to daily routine usually takes place shortly after the surgery. If your case will be uncomplicated you will be able to drink and eat within the first 24 hours after the surgery. Also in the first day, you can try to sit on the bed and then get up and walk, although usually, the first walk after the treatment should take place under the care of a physiotherapist or a family member.
Due to the possible occurrence of a hernia, you should avoid excessive physical activity in the first few weeks, and that refers especially to carrying heavy objects. After not more than a few days stay in the hospital, you should be able to return home, and regain full activity after a two- to three-week period of rehabilitation.
After the cholecystectomy, the digestive system needs some adaptation to get used to functioning without the gallbladder. The doctor will recommend going on a strict, easily digestible diet with fat and fiber reduction. After a month, the menu can be expanded and other products should be gradually introduced. Although you will probably be provided with a Cholecystectomy diet’s “do’s and dont’s” by the hospital, you can also take a look at our diet recommendations here.
Supplements after gallbladder surgery
We have to be aware that without a gallbladder, the bile will not be as efficiently distributed in the digestive system as it was before. After the cholecystectomy, the bile tends to flow into the duodenum irregularly, regardless of whether the body needs it more for digest fats or less to digest carbohydrates.
The good news is you can support the impaired digestive system with proper dietary supplements. Try these supplements after gallbladder surgery to help your body get back on track with proper digestion. Click on the link or image to see details on Amazon.
- Source of bile salts and digestive enzymes
- Supports Digestive System after Gallbladder Removal
- With organic beet concentrate
Life without a gallbladder.
After the gallbladder removal, fat digestion can be somewhat impaired and you may experience indigestion, post-meal discomfort or heartburn. These symptoms will be though much less severe and less frequent than before the operation. A proper post operational diet should be rich in vitamins and proteins and consists of 5-6 small meals a day, which should be rather hot than cold and easily digestible (low in fiber and fat). Read more on gallbladder friendly diet here and if needed- support the digestive system with proper gallstones supplements.
Can you get gallstones without a gallbladder?
Unfortunately, yes. No treatment (including gallbladder removal) will prevent gallstones disease to relapse, as deposits can form and reside in bile ducts. Additionally, without a gallbladder, the digestive system can be affected. For this reason, if you are a gallstone disease patient, you should be interested in a healthy and balanced diet. For all gallstone disease patients,