Gallbladder

Function

The gallbladder is located in the right upper region of the abdomen. The liver produces bile, which is needed in digesting fats. The gallbladder stores the bile and when fatty foods are eaten, bile is excreted out of the gallbladder through the duct and into the digestive tract.

Cholelithiasis (gallstones)

Bile is made up of many substances that can harden into stones. Gallstones (cholelithiasis) vary in size and sit inside the gallbladder or can leave the gallbladder and move into the ducts.  When gallstones get stuck in the common bile duct (choledocholithiasis), this can block the flow of bile and can cause pain and inflammation.

Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)

Acute cholecystitis can occur in the presence of gallstones or without gallstones but typically develops in patients with a history of gallstones. Diagnostic testing can show gallbladder wall thickening and edema.

Biliary dyskinesia (gallbladder dysfunction)

Gallbladder dyskinesia is when the gallbladder does not drain or release bile properly. Bile can then flow back into the gallbladder and cause pain.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the right upper abdomen or epigastric region

  • Pain that radiates up into the shoulders or into the back

  • Typically the pain is after meals (particularly fatty meals)

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fever

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhea

Diagnostic Tests

  • Abdominal ultrasound is the most common study for gallbladder disease and is used to look for gallstones and gallbladder wall thickening

  • HIDA (Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid) scan is used to assess the contractility of the gallbladder and how well your gallbladder is working

  • CT scan can also be used although is it not the first choice with suspected gallbladder disease

Surgery

Cholecystectomy is the medical term for surgical removal of the gallbladder. It is recommended for patients who experience symptoms of gallbladder disease or have evidence of cholecystitis or cholelithiasis. This procedure can be done laparoscopically or robotically with the daVinci robot. 

Robotic Cholecystectomy

Using the da Vinci technology we can remove your gallbladder through either a few small incisions (cuts) or through one small incision in your belly button using Single-Site technology. During surgery, we sits at a console next to you and operates using tiny instruments.

A camera provides a high-definition, 3D magnified view inside your body. Every hand movement we makes is translated by the da Vinci system in real time to bend and rotate the instruments with precision to remove your gallbladder safely and with precision

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