Cholecystectomy, one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the country, is the removal of the gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ that sits beneath the liver. The gallbladder's primary function is to store and concentrate bile, which is released into the small intestine after eating to aid in the breakdown and absorption of food. Despite this function, it is possible maintain good digestive health without a gallbladder.
Gallstones, the result of excessive cholesterol in bile, are the cause of most gallbladder problems. These small, hard masses prevent the proper flow of bile out of the gallbladder and can cause significant pain, vomiting, indigestion and possibly fever. Without surgery, there is no cure for gallstones.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is now routinely performed instead of open gallbladder removal because of smaller incisions and improved recovery time, although the procedure may not be appropriate for some patients. Factors that may increase the need for an open procedure include obesity, acute cholecystis or previous upper abdominal operations resulting in dense scar tissue. A thorough medical evaluation by your physician and one of The Miriam Hospital's trained surgeons can help determine if laparoscopic gallbladder removal is right for you.
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