A cholecystectomy is a surgery to remove the patient's gallbladder.
Removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is one of the most common operations performed in adults. It is becoming much more frequent operation in children as well.
A physician may recommend a cholecystectomy for several conditions including:
Gallstones are very common in Hispanic, Native American and Caucasian populations. It is relatively uncommon in African-Americans. People with certain hematologic conditions such as sickle cell anemia, hereditary spherocytosis and thalasemmia are at particular risk for developing gallstones.
Common symptoms of gallstones in children and adolescents include:
A physician who suspects that their patient has gallstones will frequently order an ultrasound. Using this test the physician will look at the liver and bile duct system to determine if there are stones in the gallbladder. Ultrasound exams are noninvasive and is not painful.
If more information is needed, a physician may order a gallbladder scan or MRI.
Gallbladders are most often removed using Minimally invasive surgery (MIS), also known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, once the patient is under anesthesia, a surgeon typically makes four small incisions on the abdomen and inserts a high definition camera (called an endoscope) and thin instruments into the abdomen to remove the gallbladder.
A new, cutting edge method of performing surgery called Single-incision Surgery is now being used to remove the gallbladder in select patients. In this approach, instead of four incisions, the surgeon makes one incision hidden in the belly button and removes the gallbladder in an otherwise similar way to the standard four-incision approach.
The operation itself lasts approximately one hour. Patients are given pain medication if they feel any discomfort, and most spend the night in the hospital and are released following breakfast the next morning. It is common to have pain or discomfort at the incision sites and/or behind the right shoulder (due to the gas used to inflate the abdomen during surgery). Most people feel much better after the first day and only require stronger pain medication the first one to two days following surgery.
Your surgeon will instruct you as to when you may return to normal activities including physical education and sports. You will generally be seen in the surgeon’s office approximately 2 weeks following surgery. If you have any questions or concerns prior to this, please contact our office and the surgeon or our nurse practioner or physician assistants will address your questions.
Appointments and More Information
For more information, visit Pediatric General Surgery. To make an appointment or to ask questions, please call (727) -767-4170.
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