What is Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is a surgical intervention done to remove the gallbladder. The surgeon removes the gallbladder through a 5 to 8-inch long cut in the abdomen. In an open Cholecystectomy, the cut (incision) is made just below the ribs on the right side. On the other hand, Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is a less invasive technique done by a laparoscope to remove the gallbladder. It is carried out through several small incisions rather than one cut, each one-inch or less in length.
How is Laparoscope Used to Remove the Gallbladder?
A laparoscope is a small tube which is inserted into the human body through a small cut made just below the navel. In this way, the surgeon can observe the gallbladder on a TV screen and perform the surgery with tools inserted in three other tiny cuts made in the upper right of the abdomen. After that, the gallbladder removal has been done through one of the incisions.
- Small cuts are made in the abdomen. With the help of a video monitor, surgical instruments are inserted through other incisions to remove the gallbladder or dissolve gallstones by the surgeon.
- The whole procedure can be performed under general or local anesthesia; the surgeon takes the decision based on the condition of the patient, severity of the conditions, risks involved, etc.
- After the surgery, the flow of bile is directed from the liver into the small intestine through the bile duct.
Estimated Cost of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Laparoscopy typically costs between $1,700 and $5,000; may vary depending on the patient’s condition.
Average Length of Stay
In case of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, patients need to stay in the hospital for more than 24 hours post operation. The doctor will advise further stay based on the patient’s condition.
The gallstones block the flow of bile from the gallbladder leading to symptoms like:
- Acute abdominal pain (gallbladder pain)
- Occasional fever
- Jaundice/yellowing of the skin due to a bile duct blockage
Indications for Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy are:
- Inflammation of gallbladder or acute abdominal pain
- High risk of gallbladder cancer
- Biliary Colic
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Complications
Post Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, complications may include:
- Injury to the bile duct (that carries bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine).
Furthermore, the major blood vessels may get injured when the instruments are inserted into the abdomen. However, all of these complications are uncommon.
Post Discharge Care/Rehabilitation Information
A. Dos and Don’ts
B. Regular follow up
- 1. The patient should not lift heavy objects for few weeks after the surgery.
- 2. The patient is usually advised to take approximately 10 deep breaths per hour. This will decrease your chance of contracting lung diseases.
C. Taking medication as prescribed
- 1. It is also recommended that you should visit the surgeon post-surgery as prescribed.
- 2. Immediate medical care is advised in case of symptoms like:
- Suddenly elevated heart rate
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
Always take prescribed medications with food as consuming them empty stomach may lead to nausea or vomiting.
D. Dietary and lifestyle advice to be followed
- After the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, you may experience fatigue at least for a week. It is recommended that you should go for walks minimum 2 to 3 times a day.
- Restrict to the dietary modifications as suggested by the doctor.
A thorough medical evaluation by your physician, in consultation with a surgeon skilled in laparoscopy, can find out if laparoscopic gallbladder surgery (Cholecystectomy) is a suitable procedure for you or not.