Nowadays, The most common treatment for gallstones is laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. When gallstones are present in the cystic duct or biliary system of the gallbladder, you may experience symptoms like severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The presence of these symptoms indicate that surgery is needed to avoid further complications.
This surgery is also known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It is a minimally invasive gallbladder removal surgery to remove gallstones.
What are gallstones?
Gallstones, also known as gallbladder stones, are solidified masses formed abnormally in the gallbladder due to cholesterol, bile pigments or calcium salts. These stones may vary in size and number. It is more common in women, obese people and people above 40 years of age. It may also be the result of heredity.
What are the symptoms of gallstones?
Sometimes, the patient experiences a sudden and rapid pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen. The doctor advises an abdominal ultrasound to detect the presence of gallstones.
While sometimes, there may not be any pain or symptoms but you may find out about gallstones in a preventive health care examination.
Sometimes the symptoms may appear after every meal:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Loss of appetite
What is included in laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure steps?
- In laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder is done using a tube-like instrument called a laparoscope.
- A video camera is attached on top of the laparoscope which gives the view of the abdomen on the screen.
- Your surgeon will make a few small incisions in the abdomen. The number of cuts and positions may vary between patients.
- Carbon dioxide is blown to inflate the abdomen so that the surgeon can get a better visual of the internal organs.
- The surgeon then proceeds to take out the gallbladder stones following proper procedural steps. After this, the gas is allowed to escape and the small cuts are closed in such a way that it looks almost suture-less, resulting in minimum scarring.
What is the recovery time for gallstones surgery?
The patient is usually discharged within 24-36 hours after laparoscopic gallstones removal surgery and can resume activities within 3-4 days of the surgery.
Since the surgery requires fewer incisions, the pain is very less and recovery time is faster.
Consult a doctor if you notice any problems such as diarrhea or fever for more than two days.
What happens if the gallstones are not treated?
If the gallstones are not removed on time, it may result in further complications. If you suffer from pain and indigestion due to gallstones, it means that the stones have caused an obstruction in one of the ducts in the gallbladder.
If the gallstone slips further down, it may lead to complications such as obstructive jaundice or pancreatitis. Therefore, if gallstones are diagnosed then get it treated as soon as possible before it leads to another problem.
What Can I expect after laparoscopic gallstones removal surgery?
If we talk about the post-surgery care, initially the patient is on a liquid diet as it takes time for the body to adjust without a gallbladder. Soon, you can go back to the normal diet if the body is able to digest the food well.
The healthcare provider usually encourages patient to make physical movements for faster recovery. You are advised not to lift heavy weights or exert yourself after the surgery.
Is laparoscopic surgery for gallstones safe?
Many people think that laparoscopic surgery for removal of gallstones is dangerous. But this is not true. Laparoscopic surgeries are performed by highly skilled and experienced surgeons.
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is usually less painful and risky. It also results in a shorter hospital stay and recovery time compared to open surgery for gallstones removal.
One thing you must know that the removal of gallbladder does not affect your quality of life or does not impair your digestive system.
Is gallstone removal without surgery possible?
There are a few medicines which help in breaking down gallstones. Some people prefer home remedies to treat gallstones while others go for this medication.
Is gallstone removal without surgery possible?
But medication may not work for everyone. Also, these medicines may take months and years to dissolve the gallstones present in the gallbladder. There are chances that these gallstones may reappear if you stop taking the medicine.
Above all, medication doesn’t eliminate the risk of the stone slipping down from the abdomen and does not provide a permanent solution. Therefore, laparoscopic surgery is the most suggested treatment for the removal of gallstones.
How can I prevent the formation of gallstones?
There are certain factors of gallstones such as age and gender which cannot be prevented. While other risk factors may be smoking, sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy food habits which can be taken care of. Therefore, you can follow the below instructions to prevent gallstone formation:
- Choose foods low in cholesterol, saturated fats and sugar and go for high fiber diet.
- Avoid sudden weight loss
- Stop smoking
- Exercise regularly
Weak digestive system develops gallstones in the gallbladder. The chances of developing symptoms or complications after laparoscopic gallstones removal are very low. Majority of the patients who have undergone laparoscopic cholecystectomy do not have their symptoms return. Do not hold the problem or delay the treatment when it can be cured.