A diseased gallbladder can occur when stones are present (cholelithiasis) in the gallbladder or cystic duct. At the same time, the gallbladder may be inflamed (cholecystitis) secondary to presence of stones. In some cases, the gallbladder can be inflamed without stones being present and bacteria can cause this. Gallstones can cause irritation or they can cause no symptoms at all. When irritation occurs people may experience abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and even jaundice (yellowing of the skin) if a stone becomes lodged in the common bile duct.
Diagnostic exams like ultrasound, blood tests, and imaging exams assist physicians in determining if your gallbladder is causing your discomfit. The treatment plan usually consists of surgical removal once the diagnosis is made.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder)is a minimally invasive surgical technique to remove the gallbladder. The patient can expect to have four small abdominal incisions after surgery usually covered with a small band-aid.
Patients can usually expect a 1-2 day hospital stay. After surgery post-op recovery consists of aggressive pain management and regaining activity level. Nursing care is focused on patient education regarding necessary post-op exercises such as walking and deep breathing to promote a safe and fast recovery.