Your gallbladder is a little pear-shaped organ that sits under your liver. It aids in your digestive process by storing and releasing bile — a digestive fluid produced by the liver.
It’s an important organ, but for many people, it’s also a source of abdominal pain and digestive problems. If you have gallbladder disease, removing it could improve your system — and our team at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, located in Peoria, Arizona, can help.
Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and Jarvis Walters, DO, specialize in minimally invasive gallbladder removal. Read on to find out when gallbladder removal is recommended.
Why you might need gallbladder removal
Your gallbladder serves an important function in your digestive process because it stores bile. Although it’s important, it’s not essential.
You can live without your gallbladder, and removing it is an effective treatment for gallbladder problems. We may recommend gallbladder removal for:
Gallstones are the most common reason for gallbladder removal. They are solid deposits of bile and cholesterol. You can have just one or many, and they range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball.
About 75% of people diagnosed with gallstones don’t have symptoms and may never need treatment. But if you’re among the 25% who have symptoms, we usually recommend gallbladder removal surgery.
Gallstones can cause intense pain, especially after eating. In severe cases, gallstones can gallbladder inflammation, leading to fever, vomiting, and jaundice without proper treatment.
Biliary dyskinesia is another reason for gallbladder removal. It’s a condition that occurs when the muscles in your gallbladder don’t contract properly. Bile builds up, often causing abdominal discomfort or pain. Biliary dyskinesia can sometimes be treated with medication or dietary changes, but in severe cases, gallbladder removal may be necessary.
Other health conditions could also increase your risk of gallbladder problems, including cirrhosis of the liver or liver disease. These conditions can affect how your gallbladder functions.
Family history of gallbladder problems
While anyone can develop gallbladder disease, a family history of the condition could put you at higher risk.
If you have a family history of gallbladder disease, we may recommend gallbladder removal as a preventive measure to reduce your risk of developing symptoms in the future.
What to expect with gallbladder removal surgery
If you’ve been diagnosed with a gallbladder issue, our doctors perform a series of tests to determine the best treatment. Tests may include a physical exam, blood work, ultrasound, or a CT scan, and we review the results with you to help you make an informed decision.
We specialize in minimally invasive gallbladder removal surgery with the Single-Site® da Vinci® surgical system. We make one small incision in your abdomen, then use special instruments to remove your gallbladder. Most people can go home the same day as the procedure and return to their normal activities within a few days.
After your surgery, you’ll need to make some dietary changes to help your body adjust to not having a gallbladder. Our team can provide specific instructions regarding what to eat and avoid. But in general, you should avoid fatty or greasy foods and eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
Gallbladder removal is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of gallbladder problems. To find out if you’re a candidate, contact the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery at 623-486-7700 or send us a message online today.