What is laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is an innovative technique that consists of the removal of the gallbladder using a video camera and a special material that allows the intervention to be performed through very small incisions, that is, without opening the abdomen.
Such small incisions not only have esthetic advantages, but also reduce postoperative infections and postoperative pain. As a consequence, there is less fasting and bed rest, less time spent in hospital and less time off work. The risk of incisional hernias is also reduced.
A cholecystectomy requires general anesthesia.
Why is it performed?
Cholelithiasis is the main cause of cholecystectomy. Cholelithiasis is the appearance of “stones” or gallstones in the gallbladder. These stones are produced by the precipitation of bile salts in the gallbladder and can cause:
- Pain (biliary colic).
- Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis).
- Obstruction of the bile ducts (jaundice).
- Infection (cholangitis).
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
What does it consist of?
Minimally invasive laparoscopic cholecystectomy involves making several small incisions in the abdomen. Through these incisions, a small tube with a video camera is inserted into the abdomen through one of these incisions. The video camera is connected to a monitor in the operating room, which guides the surgeon during the procedure. Using tools inserted through the incisions in the abdomen, the gallbladder is removed. Once removed, the incisions are closed with sutures and you are transferred to a recovery room. This surgery takes 1 to 2 hours.
Preparation for laparoscopic cholecystectomy
Before surgery, the patient will be informed when to stop eating and also if any medications should be temporarily discontinued.
Aftercare after surgery
Patients can often go home the same day of surgery, but sometimes an overnight stay is recommended. Full recovery usually takes place within a week.
Alternatives to this treatment (other more advanced treatments)
As an alternative there is open cholecystectomy, in which a larger incision (about 6 inches) is made in the abdomen on the right side, below the ribs. The gallbladder is removed through this incision, which is then closed with sutures. This also takes between 1 and 2 hours.