Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy for Gallbladder Disease
Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) secondary to gallstone formation is very common in the U.S. Gallbladder disease is a modern illness most commonly related to a “western” diet high in fat and cholesterol. By age 65, 10% of men and 20% of women have gallstones; an estimated twenty million Americans have gallbladder disease. The stones are most commonly composed of cholesterol and are associated with obesity and rapid weight loss. Stones are also seen in people with hemolytic anemias such as sickle cell disease. The sole function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is produced in the liver and aids in the digestion of fats in the small intestine. The gallbladder has become a prime target for surgical intervention; in fact, gallbladder surgery is the most common type of major surgery.
When a gallstone obstructs or blocks the outflow duct of the gallbladder, it produces colic, a severe, crampy pain the right upper quadrant of the abdomen that brings the patient to the emergency room. This may progress to an acute inflammation and infection if not treated promptly.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) is the treatment of choice for cholecystitis and symptomatic gallstones. This type of gallbladder surgery is usually performed through four tiny incisions, minimizing the trauma to the abdominal wall and leaving the patient with virtually no scars. Most patients are discharged the same day or within 24 hours. Our expert surgeons perform several hundred of these procedures annually and have extensive experience with minimally invasive techniques.
We are now performing these gallbladder surgeries through single incisions hidden in the belly button and utilizing “mini-lap” instruments that are only 2mm in diameter. This significantly reduces post-operative pain, the length of stay in the hospital, and return to normal activities and work, as well as providing our patients with exceptional cosmetic results.