The gallbladder is a small sac that rests beneath the right side of the liver. The
gallbladder collects bile
, which is used to help digest food.
The gallbladder releases bile that travels through the bile ducts to the small intestine. Removal of the gallbladder may occur when gallstones
develop, which block the flow
of bile out of the gallbladder.
Gallstones are small, hard
masses often consisting of cholesterol and bile salts that form in the gallbladder
or bile duct and may block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder. As
a result, the gallbladder begins to swell, which results in sharp abdominal pain,
vomiting and indigestion. In addition, gallstones may promote inflammation and infection
of the gallbladder.
Surgeons perform the procedure through four tiny incisions, each about a quarter-inch
long. A surgical instrument called a laparoscope is inserted through the incisions.
A video camera at the end of the laparoscope allows the surgeon to see a magnified
view of the patient's gallbladder and other internal organs on a video monitor.
The surgeon then manipulates surgical instruments brought to the operative site
through small, hollow tubes to gently remove
the deflated gallbladder through the navel. In most cases, patients leave the hospital
the same day or the day after gallbladder surgery and return to normal activity
within three to seven days.