As many as 25 million Americans have gallbladder disease. Each year, almost a million of these people need this organ to be removed as a result.
Your gallbladder is likely a bit of a mystery to you. This small, pear-shaped organ that rests just beneath your liver releases bile, a digestive fluid, into your small intestine. Your gallbladder isn’t of much concern, unless of course, you start to develop gallstones and the resulting symptoms.
If you experience symptoms that indicate gallstones, you’ll need an experienced surgeon, like our team at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, to remove the organ. You can still eat and digest most foods without your gallbladder.
Here are five signs you should consider having your gallbladder evaluated and prepare for possible gallbladder surgery.
Bloating, heartburn, gas, and regular indigestion indicate gallstones may be present. These symptoms may be mild or severe.
Severe belly pain
You’ll notice pain in the mid or upper right portion of the abdomen, usually after eating, or in the center of the belly just below the breastbone. Pain may also occur between the shoulder blades
Nausea and vomiting
If nausea and vomiting aren’t associated with another cause, like food poisoning or gastroenteritis, you should rule out gallbladder issues as a possible cause.
Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes indicates jaundice, a condition in which you have high levels of bilirubin in the bile secretions of the liver. When jaundice occurs in adults, it is a possible indication of gallstones.
Fever alone has many causes, but if it’s accompanied by some of the prior symptoms, it could be an indication that your gallbladder needs attention.
Removing the gallbladder
If an ultrasound reveals gallstones, particularly ones that are symptomatic and have caused inflammation of the gallbladder, then we may recommend surgical removal of the organ. The procedure is called a cholecystectomy.
The good news is that you don’t need your gallbladder to thrive. Making some mild adjustments to your diet following surgery ensures your digestion continues to run smoothly without pain.
Most people have a laparoscopic procedure to remove the gallbladder. The minimally invasive approach involves small incisions, a tiny camera, and miniature instruments. You may go home the same day to recover or spend one night in the hospital. The benefit of this minimally invasive approach is fast healing, and you can expect to go back to most normal activities within two weeks.
A small percentage of people require a more involved open surgery approach. That type of surgery involves larger incisions and a longer healing time. You might need open surgery if you have complex gallbladder problems or scar tissue left over from a prior abdominal surgery. Expect to spend several nights in the hospital after your procedure and for it to take 6-8 weeks for a full recovery.
When you need a qualified surgeon to remove your gallbladder and relieve the pain of gallstones and gallbladder disease, call Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC and set up an appointment. You may also request an appointment using the online scheduler.