Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed today. Find out about symptoms and diagnosis of gallbladder problems here. The purpose of the gallbladder is to aid the digestion of food. The bile helps dissolve fat so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream to provide nutrients to the body. The gallbladder stores bile, which is made in the liver for use in the digestion of food. Food, particularly fatty foods, trigger the release of bile from the gallbladder.
They can even be mistaken for a heart attack, and vice versa. Never ignore symptoms that could be a heart attack, including left arm pain and chest pain. In most cases, the surgery is scheduled in advance, but in cases of severe inflammation, a gallbladder surgery may be performed urgently after diagnosis. Testing for gallbladder disease includes a physical exam, blood tests, and possible abdominal imaging that can detect the presence of gallstones and blockages. An ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, is a less invasive procedure to treat gallstones, may or may not be performed prior to scheduling surgery. The decision is made based on the size and number of gallstones, and the condition of the gallbladder.
Avoiding fatty foods can help prevent gallbladder «attacks»— gallbladder pain in individuals with gallbladder disease— as these foods are known to increase secretions from the gallbladder which in turns leads to discomfort. Fried foods, greasy foods and other types of food that contain elevated levels of fat should be avoided by people who are having gallbladder issues. Many sources indicate that eggs should also be avoided. Another common trigger for gallbladder pain is eating foods that you are sensitive to or cause an allergic reaction. For these people, the foods that they are allergic to are much more likely than other foods to trigger significant gallbladder pain and should be avoided. Dairy is just one example. For some it may be gluten, for others, it may be something entirely different.
If there is a food in your diet that routinely causes symptoms of sensitivity such as bloating, gas or stomach upset, it will be more likely than other foods to cause a gallbladder attack. In general, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in fat and meat is ideal. The surgery begins with the administration of an IV sedative to relax the patient. During the procedure, the anesthesiologist constantly monitors the vital signs of the patient and provides any necessary medications. The surgeon begins with four small incisions, approximately half an inch long, in the upper right side of the abdomen. Two of these incisions allow the surgeon to place surgical instruments in the abdominal cavity.
The fourth incision is used to insert a port that releases carbon dioxide gas, inflating the abdomen to allow better visualization and more room to work. The gallbladder is separated from the healthy tissue and is placed in a sterile bag to allow it to pass through one of the small incisions. The surgeon then inspects the area where the gallbladder was removed and closes the ducts that were connected to it. The incisions are then closed with staples, stitches or adhesive bandages. After gallbladder surgery is finished, the patient is allowed to slowly wake, and the breathing tube is removed. The patient is then transported to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit for monitoring while the anesthesia drugs completely wear off.
During this phase of recovery, the patient will be closely watched by the staff for signs of pain, changes in vital signs or any complications from surgery. If no complications are observed and the patient is awake, they can be transferred to a hospital room an hour or two after surgery. Blood is also drawn and analyzed to help monitor the patient’s health. More strenuous activity may require a longer healing time. A small percentage of patients require a low-fat, high-fiber diet in the first few weeks after surgery to prevent discomfort and diarrhea after eating. If diarrhea persists despite dietary changes, the surgeon should be notified.
This complication is not uncommon, but can pose serious issues if it continues after recovery. If the incision was closed with adhesive bandages, they will fall off on their own, or can be removed by the surgeon during an office visit. Any foul drainage or significant redness of the incisions should be reported. Gallbladder pain is typically associated with pain in the hour after eating, and is often moderate to severe in intensity. As a general rule, abdominal pain shouldn’t be ignored, whether the gallbladder is the suspected source or not. If you think you are having gallbladder attacks, seek medical treatment rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away. The pain can worsen over time. Why Is Surgery Needed If You Have Appendicitis? Why Am I Bleeding During or After Sex? Why Do People Pass Out?