If your doctor has suggested surgery to remove your gall bladder, you have probably heard about an innovative procedure called laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, or ‘Lap chole’ for short. The procedure is a “Less invasive” type of gall–bladder surgery that you might consider if your surgeon feels you are an appropriate candidate. Since incisions are extremely small with less invasive procedures, discomfort after surgery is reduced and recovery is shortened.
About the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Procedure
To remove the gallbladder, the surgeon makes four tiny incisions in the abdomen–one near the navel. Unlike the seven – inch incision required for open surgery, these four incisions do not traumatize muscle tissue, so patients experience much less pain after surgery and usually can resume normal activities within one week.
A thin tube or “Tracer” is inserted in the navel incision. Through this tube, the surgeon inserts the laparoscope, which consists of a small video camera and light source. The camera sends actual images to monitor allowing the surgeon to “See” inside the body.
Trocars are placed in the other three incisions. The surgeon uses these openings to insert the instruments necessary to perform the procedure. Instruments called “Graspers” for example, hold the gallbladder in place. A device using a laser beam or electric current detaches the gallbladder while sealing tissue to control bleeding. Finally, the gallbladder is withdrawn through the trocar near the navel. While each case has unique characteristics, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia, takes about an hour, and requires a 24–hour hospital stay.
Immediately following the surgery, patients can expect to have symptoms, such as nausea, while the body recovers. A diet free from fatty food is recommended for the first week following surgery. Within a week, patients will also see the surgeon for a check–up. Full activity can be resumed as soon as patients feel comfortable.
|Lap Chole||Open Surgery|
|Hospital Stay||Usually 24 hours||4–7 days|
|Recovery Time||1–week maximum||3–6 weeks|
|Scarring||4 small marks||7–inch scar|
More and More Patients are Choosing Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Gallbladder surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in America. In fact, studies indicate that one in ten Americans will experience gallbladder problems during his or her lifetime. More than half a million people have gallbladder surgery every year, and today as many as 90% of the operations are done laparo–scopically.
The widespread acceptance of the Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy procedure stems from its patient benefits. Patients experience less postoperative pain, minimal scarring, and recover faster than with open surgical procedures.