Treatment for Gallstones

Gallstones are deposits of bile that harden and form in the gallbladder. When this happens, the gallbladder can become inflamed (cholecystitis), which can lead to fibrosis and scarring of the gallbladder wall. If you experience severe abdominal pain, jaundice or high fever with chills, you may have serious complications caused by gallstones and may need surgery.

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How the Procedure Is Performed

The treatment for gallstones is surgical removal of the gallbladder. This can be performed using minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopically) or robotically. Minimally invasive or robotic surgery may result in less pain, less blood loss, and a shorter recovery.*

The procedure involves making one to four small incisions and inserting a laparoscope/robotic endoscope and long thin instruments through the incisions. The laparoscope has a camera that the surgeon uses to better view the surgical area. The gallbladder is cut away from the liver and the artery and duct to the gallbladder are clipped and divided.

Recovering From Surgery

Most patients can go home the same day as surgery and return to work and normal activities in less than a week. A diet is started after surgery and patients are advanced to a low-fat diet as tolerated. Pain medication may be given as needed. Walking is encouraged after surgery, and activity is dependent on how the patient feels. A follow-up visit with the surgeon normally occurs two weeks after surgery.

*Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if robotic surgery or minimally invasive surgery are right for you.