Gallbladder Surgery – Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) secondary to gallstone formation is quite common in the U.S. By age 65, 10% of men and 20% of women have gallstones. Most are cholesterol stones associated with obesity and rapid weight loss. Stones are also seen in people with hemolytic anemias such as sickle cell disease.
When a gallstone gets wedged in 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.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) is the treatment of choice for cholecystitis (inflammation/infection of the gallbladder) and symptomatic cholelithiasis (gallstones). This operation is done through four tiny incisions, minimizing the trauma to the abdominal wall. Most patients are discharged within 24 hours. Our surgeons perform hundreds of these procedures annually and have extensive experience with intraoperative cholangiography. This is a sensitive X-Ray examination which is performed (during the surgery) by injecting dye into the bile duct to determine if stones have passed from the gallbladder into the rest of the biliary system. In addition to “routine” removal of the gallbladder, these stones can be extracted from the bile duct using a tiny second scope which is passed directly into the duct utilizing picture-in-picture (PIP) technology in the laparoscopic monitors. Until recently, this type of procedure could only be performed via traditional (“open”) surgery. Our surgeons’ ability to perform this type of procedure laparoscopically significantly reduces post-operative pain, the length of stay in the hospital and the need for subsequent surgical or endoscopic intervention for bile duct stones.