Gallbladder removal is one of the most common surgical procedures. In the span of my career, I have probably performed more than 500 gallbladder operations. The gallbladder is attached to the underside of the liver. It stores bile made by the liver which helps you digest fats. Bile moves from the gallbladder to the small intestine for eventual elimination.
As part of this breakdown process, the system can get out of balance and form gallstones.
Gallstones form when cholesterol and other things found in bile make stones. They can also form if the gallbladder does not empty as it should. It’s also been proven that people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from gallstones.
Early surgeries addressed the gallstones by removing them and left the gallbladder intact. But today, we know that a diseased gallbladder will continue to create new stones (and more problems). Thus, gallbladder removal eliminates the problem permanently.
Today’s modern gallbladder surgery
Prior to 1990, surgeons removed gallbladders through a large open incision, referred to as general surgery. Now we remove most gallbladders using laparoscopy (operating through a few small holes by using miniaturized tools including a tiny video camera are inserted into the abdomen). The entire procedure can be performed in less than an hour, in most cases.
Due to the commonality of gallbladder removal, medical experts are constantly updating the surgery to make it even less invasive. Today, this operation is often performed as “day-surgery” where the patient is able to return home the same day he or she undergoes the gallbladder operation ─ no in-patient hospital stay required.
You can live a normal life without a gallbladder as your liver will still produce bile to digest food. But keep in mind some people experience symptoms of bloating and diarrhea after eating fatty or spicy food. If certain foods do trigger unpleasant symptoms, just eliminate them from your diet.
If you or a loved one is faced with gallbladder surgery, be thankful the operation can be successfully performed using minimally invasive surgery, where there is less pain, less scarring, minimal blood loss and a far quicker recovery.
About Dr. Seun Sowemimo, MD, FACS
“Dr. Seun” is a top NJ bariatric surgeon and the medical director at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties. He is board-certified, Columbia and Yale University fellowship-trained advanced laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon. He has advanced expertise performing the safest, most advanced laparoscopic and general surgical operations. To learn more, visit his YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732) -982-2002