The gallbladder is the pear-shaped organ located under the liver that collects and releases bile after eating to help in the digestion process. The gallbladder is not necessary for proper body functioning.
When the amount of bile and chemicals inside the gallbladder are imbalanced, gallstones may develop and irritate the lining of the bladder, causing heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Gallstones are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder.
A cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the gallbladder for patients with severe gallstones and other bladder problems. This procedure is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S. and is safe for most patients with gallbladder problems, except for those who have had previous upper abdominal surgery.
Cholecystectomy can be performed through minimally invasive surgery, which involves making several small incisions rather than one large incision to remove the gallbladder with ultrasound guidance. This technique also avoids the need to cut the muscles of the abdomen for access to the gallbladder. A laparoscope and tiny surgical instruments are inserted into these incisions to remove the gallbladder, which is taken out through one of the same incisions. With laparoscopy, patients can return to work more quickly after surgery and with less pain and scarring. Most patients can return home the same day.