The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ under the liver on the right side of the upper abdomen. It stores bile produced by the liver cells during resting state and squeezes it into the intestine via the bile duct to aid in digestion during a meal.
Causes of gallstones formation is multi-factorial, involving bacteria infection of the bile, precipitation of constituents of the bile such as bile salt, calcium, bile pigment and cholesterol. The stones can be hard stones of varying sizes or they can be in the form of soft cholesterol stones or mid-like sludge. Ultrasound scan of the abdomen is the commonest method used in detecting gallstones, it is non-invasive and very accurate. Other methods in detecting gallstones include computerized tomography (CT) scan and oral cholecystography.
Gallstones disease is a common occurrence in the population but majority of people are symptoms free and therefore unaware of their existence. An operation is recommended when the gallstones cause problems such as pain, jaundice (yellowing of skin) or infection. The current standard treatment entails removal of the diseased gallbladder together with gallstones.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder via key-hole operation) is conducted under general anesthesia. The procedure is carried out after distending the abdomen cavity with carbon dioxide insufflation to create space for the operation. A 10mm diameter telescope is then place through a small incision at the umbilicus for visualization. The actual operation on the gallbladder is performed with three slim instrument 3-5mm in diameters placed just below the right ribcage. Tiny clips are used to seal the blood vessels around the gallbladder and the cystic duct that connects the gallbladder to the bile duct. The gallbladder and the stones inside will be extracted at completion of operation as in conventional open operation.
The benefits include: –
You will be review by an anesthesiologist before the operation to ensure that you are healthy and fit for general anesthesia. Routine blood tests, chest X-ray and ECG will be done when necessary.
The operation is generally a straightforward one. You can be admitted on the day of the operation but you need to fast for at least 6-8 hours prior to the operation. You should not have any food or liquid after midnight if your operation is scheduled in the morning. You can have a beverage early in the morning if your operation is scheduled for later in the afternoon.
When you wake up from the surgery, you will find????
Post-anesthetic nausea, headache and sore throat are common symptoms experience by many patients. You will be prescribed medications to counter these symptoms. You can take liquid orally after you wake up fully from the general anesthesia and should be able to progress to diet in the evening if you tolerated the liquid well.
Pain from the small laparoscopic wounds is usually well tolerated. Majority of patients required only oral medication for adequate pain relief. Patient control analgesia will be available if you need.
Majority of patients recover from the operation very quickly and are ready to go home after a night rest in the hospital.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is generally a safe operation and complications are rare, these include –
The gallbladder is not an essential digestive organ and its removal does not carry significant long-term side effect. Some patients experience loose stool and bloating with fatty food in the early period after the operation. This usually improves and resolves after a few weeks.
"I went for a colonoscopy, gastroscopy, and hemorrhoidectomy procedure with Dr Melvin Look. It was nerve wrecking for me to go under general anesthesia (GA) but Dr Look eased my fears with his calm and confident demeanour along with his funny disposition. Had a smooth and successful procedure with attentive pre- and post-op care from Dr Look who has been very patient with all my questions before and after the surgery!"
I met Dr Sam Peh in 2018 when I was admitted to parkway east hospital for acute unrinary retention . Subsequently in the same year I had TURP procedure .Some tissues from TURP was found to be cancerous . We just monitor the situation on 6 monthly psa reading In 2020 the psa reading spiked and am MRI scan shows 2 lesions in the prostate Dr. Peh give me the option to burn the 2 lesions using the HIFU technology. I’m glad to use HIFU as the downtime was like only a day. Dr Peh always explain the procedures to me using simple layman’s language and with drawings as illustrations. I feel safe and confident with Dr Peh as my urologist.
I was worried about my constant bloatedness , nauseous & poor appetite in eating . I was not eating well at all for 4 months. I decided to seek help from Dr Melvin Look and was scheduled very quickly for a scope - to give me a peace of mind. Nursing team was also assuring and patient with me when I had questions on insurance & costing . I was very well advised at every step of the way! Thank you Dr Look and to the nurses who attended to me at pan asia!