Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) can be acute or chronic.
Acute cholecystitis can be caused by bacterial infection or chemical irritation. If left untreated, cholecystitis can lead to the rupture of the gallbladder, formation of an abscess, or development of acute peritonitis (leakage of bile into the peritoneal cavity can be life-threatening complication). Acute inflammation of the gallbladder requires prompt surgery.
Chronic cholecystitis refers to the prolonged inflammation of the gallbladder. If left untreated, it can lead to the repeated attacks of abdominal pain, abdominal bloating (especially after a meal), and bitter taste in the mouth. Chronic inflammation of the gallbladder occurs more frequently that acute.
How Is the Surgery Performed?
The operation is performed under general anesthesia.
It involves a minimally invasive laparoscopic approach with the use of special laparoscopic instruments and a video system. This surgical method allows patients to resume daily routine activities sooner, shortens recovery time, reduces the risk of postoperative wound complications, and relieves postoperative pain as compared with open (laparotomic) procedures.
Sometimes, when it is not possible to remove the gallbladder laparoscopically, a laparoscopic technique needs to be changed to an open (laparotomic) technique.
Small incisions are placed in the abdominal wall, and a tiny laparoscopic video camera and surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions into the abdominal cavity. The abdominal cavity is inflated with CO2 gas, which creates a working space for a surgeon. The surgeon performs all surgical manipulations while watching them on a video screen. Biliary ducts and blood vessels are separated with special instruments, clipped with special metal clips, and transected. The gallbladder is dissected away from the liver and is removed. If necessary, a drain is inserted and left to drain out fluids.
What Should Be Known After Surgery?
- The surgical wound should be redressed every second day; the suture are removed after 7-10 days;
- The incisions should be kept dry for 5 days after the operation;
- Strenuous physical activity should be avoided for 2 weeks up to 1 month; it depends on the surgical approach;
- Special dietary recommendation should be followed for 1 month: greasy, smoked, spicy, and fried foods should be avoided. Stewed food is recommended;
- The patient can experience abdominal bloating and cramping pain after a meal. In such cases, digestive enzymes and antispasmodics should be used;
- Physical activity should be avoided for 2 weeks up to 1 month.