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Gallstones Surgery Risks

Have you been asked to undergo a gallstones surgery? Wondering what are the most common gallstones surgery risks? Go through this article, to find out more about this surgery and the risks involved.
Gallstones are small stone-like deposits that may form in the gallbladder or the bile duct due to the concentration of cholesterol or bilirubin in bile. Bile is a digestive fluid that is secreted by the liver. It is the gallbladder, a small sac located underneath the liver, that concentrates and stores this digestive fluid. Bile is made up of bile salts, cholesterol and a pigment called bilirubin. When we consume foods that are rich in fat, the gallbladder contracts in order to force out bile onto the small intestine. Whenever the quantity of cholesterol or bilirubin increases beyond the normal limits, it crystallizes into gallstones.

Gallstones could be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as the size of a golf ball. These deposits could get trapped in the bile duct, cystic duct or the hepatic duct. When these get lodged in any of the ducts, these obstruct the flow of bile. As a result, the gallbladder can get inflamed. This can give rise to severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Generally, such intense pain or biliary colic is experienced after one consumes a fatty meal. If episodes of biliary colic become frequent, one might have to undergo a gallstones surgery to alleviate these symptoms. Risks are involved in most surgical procedures and this holds true for this surgery as well. Here's some information on gallstones surgery risks.

Gallstones Surgery Procedure

Gallbladder surgery is a procedure involving the removal of the gallbladder. Also known as cholecystectomy, this surgical procedure can be performed in two different ways. One can either undergo an open gallbladder surgery or a minimally invasive laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Surgical removal is often suggested when the gallstones give rise to frequent gallbladder attacks. The risks are definitely higher in case of an open surgery. The risks are attributed to the larger sized incisions made during this surgery. On the other hand, laparoscopic surgery is performed by making small incisions, through which a laparoscope attached with a miniature video camera is inserted. The surgeon looks at the close-up view of the internal organs on the video monitor to make the required cuts for separating the gallbladder from the ducts and the other structures. The gallbladder is then removed from the body through a small incision. While this minimally invasive procedure is safer than the open surgery, it cannot be performed if there is scarring from a previous surgery or other anatomical problems. The recovery time depends on the type of surgery performed. Since the size of incisions is smaller, recovery is faster in case of a laparoscopic surgery. The patient is generally discharged the next day itself. One might completely recover from a laparoscopic surgery within six weeks, while a person who has undergone an open surgery might take a few months to recover completely.

Gallstones Surgery Complications

Internal bleeding is one of the most common complications of gallbladder surgery. The chances of bleeding and infection at the site of incision are higher in case of an open surgery. While the surgeon makes incisions and inserts surgical instruments to remove the gallbladder, there is a risk of injury to the tissues and structures surrounding the gallbladder. Injury to the common bile duct or the small intestine are the most common gallstone surgery risks. An injury to the common bile duct can cause leakage of bile in the abdomen. This can give rise to an infection. If the injury is severe, additional surgery will be required to correct the problems created by a surgery gone wrong. Some of the risks might be attributed to the administration of general anesthesia. Other factors such as age and overall health of the patient could also make a difference. Once the gallbladder is removed, the bile cannot be stored and concentrated at one place. The bile will then be carried directly from the common bile duct to the small intestine. This might cause post-cholecystectomy syndrome, a condition wherein the patient might experience symptoms such as bloating, gas or diarrhea. These symptoms, however, can be managed with the help of medicines. The cost of this surgery cost is high and the patient might have to pay anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000 for having the gallbladder removed. Since risks are involved in the surgery, one can also find out about non-surgical gallstones treatment options.

Most surgical procedures involve certain risks and gallstones surgery is no exception. If you are not keen to undergo this surgery, you can try gallstones home remedy or other gallstones treatments without surgery. In case, such remedies are not helping and symptoms are worsening, it would be best to have the surgery performed by an experienced surgeon.
By Smita Pandit
Published: 2/25/2011
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