What Is Minimally Invasive Gallbladder Surgery?

Your gallbladder is a small organ that can really cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. When it becomes diseased, the pain felt after eating can clue you in that there’s a problem.

Dr. James Rifenbery here at Laparoscopic Surgery, NW, can help you decipher the treatment options that are available to you. If surgery is the recommended plan of treatment, he can give you information on robotic gallbladder surgery, which is minimally invasive and will fix the problem without a large, unsightly scar.

What is the gallbladder and why do I need it?

The gallbladder is an organ that is located in the upper right portion of your abdomen under your liver. It is connected to your liver and a portion of the small intestine by small tubes, or ducts.

Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is important, because it is needed in order for you to break down and digest fats. When you eat a fatty meal, the gallbladder begins to contract, which releases bile into the ducts to the small intestine to break down the fats for digestion.

The only thing that changes if your gallbladder is removed is the option to store bile. Your liver continues to make bile and continues to secrete bile as needed to break down fats. You will not even notice that your gallbladder is not there, other than the fact it no longer causes you pain.

Symptoms of a diseased gallbladder include:

There are no other curative treatment options for a diseased gallbladder other than surgical removal, which is called a cholecystectomy. Before surgery, Dr. Rifenbery asks you to follow a low fat diet, which may decrease the number of attacks you have. There are several different options for surgery, including minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Minimally invasive gallbladder surgery explained

There are several different surgical procedures for removing your gallbladder. There is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, robotic gallbladder surgery, and single site robotic surgery. All of these are considered minimally invasive, as they all require only small incisions instead of the traditional open procedure that requires a much larger opening.

Laparoscopic surgery is done by making four small incisions in your abdomen. Your abdomen is then distended with carbon dioxide to enhance visibility. Dr. Rifenbery will then insert a camera into one of the incisions, and use the other small incisions to insert instruments to free the gallbladder from the abdomen. There is still a chance that if complications arise, he may need to convert to an open procedure.

Robotic surgery is one of the newest additions to minimally invasive surgery and offers a very precise surgery because the robotic arms can maneuver the instruments in smaller areas. Dr. Rifenbery can also perform single-incision robotic surgery. This surgical procedure allows him to make a single incision in your belly button. In general, robotic surgery provides the benefits of less pain, shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, and faster recovery for you.

During robotic surgery, Dr. Rifenbery sits at a console where he can see a magnified image of your surgical site. He is in complete control as he directs the robot's every move with incredible precision due to computer technology and cutting edge robotics.

If you’ve been diagnosed with gallbladder disease and are ready to discuss surgery, call our office in Tacoma, Washington, at 253-234-1586, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

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