WHAT IS A CHOLECYSTECTOMY?
If the stones pass from your gallbladder into your common bile duct, they can cause jaundice (yellowing of your eyes and skin), a dangerous infection of your bile ducts (cholangitis), or pancreatic inflammation (acute pancreatitis). These complications can be life-threatening and even fatal.
Gallstones can cause severe symptoms in certain people, such as frequent bouts of stomach discomfort, vomiting, and indigestion. Pain is caused by either stones obstructing the gallbladder duct (cystic duct) and preventing your gallbladder from emptying (biliary colic) or gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis). The pain might prove severe enough to necessitate emergency hospitalization and surgery.
Other options are available but are not as successful as surgery since they do not treat the underlying issue. The stones can be dissolved or even broken up into little bits. A healthy diet with a limited fat intake may help prevent pain attacks, but it will do nothing to get rid of the gallstones.
Your surgeon will opt for laparoscopic surgery as it is generally less painful, leaves patients with less scarring and allows them to return to their daily activities faster than other surgical alternatives.
Your surgeon will make a tiny incision near or on your umbilicus to introduce a tool into your abdominal cavity to fill it with gas (carbon dioxide). They will make several small cuts on your abdomen to allow the insertion of other surgical instruments along with a telescope to see inside the abdomen during the operation.
Your surgeon will free up your cystic duct and artery before separating your gallbladder from your liver and removing it through one of the minor incisions. In some cases, there may be gallstones outside the gallbladder; your surgeon will take x-rays during the procedure to ensure this. If the x-ray shows stones in your common bile duct, your surgeon may remove the stones during the procedure or later using a flexible telescope passed down your oesophagus.
In certain rare cases, the procedure cannot be completed using the laparoscopic approach. The surgeons will then resort to open surgery, which involves making a larger cut behind your right rib cage in most cases. Your surgeon will remove the instruments and then close the cuts.