Do I need my gall bladder removed?
If you have experienced pains in your upper abdomen, fever, nausea, indigestion or a yellow tinge to the colour of your skin, then you may need to consider having your gall bladder removed.
Your gall bladder is a small organ which acts as a pouch in the upper area of your stomach. It stores a fluid produced by the liver called bile which helps break down fatty foods. Most people are unaware of their gall bladder and experience no symptoms at all throughout their life. However, for the few who do, it is not a pleasant experience and lead to intense discomfort and painful symptoms.
These symptoms can often produce one of the following conditions:
- Biliary Colic is the common term used to describe the symptoms that occur when a gallstone temporary blocks the gall bladder. Patients usually suffer sharp pain in the upper area of the stomach (frequently on the right side), which can radiate to the right shoulder, and is commonly associated with nausea, vomiting and indigestion. Cholecystitis occurs when the obstruction caused by the gall stone is prolonged (usually several hours) resulting in inflammation of the gall bladder.
- Choledocholithiasis occurs when one or more gall stones become lodged in the common bile duct. It is a dangerous condition and can lead to infection (cholangitis) or blockage (jaundice) of the liver.
- Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. It is a very serious condition, and can lead to a prolonged admission in hospital. It occurs when a gall stone obstructs the pancreatic duct.
If you experience any of the above symptoms it is important you are seen by your GP with a view to being referred to a general surgeon.
If, once you have seen a GP or consultant, you are told you require your gall bladder removed, there are options available to you which don’t always lead to weeks of recovery.
A Laparoscopic (key-hole) Cholecystectomy is a procedure used to remove the gall bladder by using a Laparoscope (instrument to see inside the stomach) which is performed through small incisions rather than one large incision.
The benefits of a key-hole approach are:
- Less pain after procedure
- Shorter hospital stay
- Only a few hours stay in hospital or at most a one-night stay
- Doesn’t require muscles to be cut
- Quicker recovery
- Incision is much smaller and therefore less noticeable.
If you would like to know more about this procedure or if you would like to book an appointment with one of our private GPs or general surgeons, please contact us on 01245 474070 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.