Cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal may be recommended for those who experience recurring gallstone formation or when symptoms become severe.
Left untreated, gallstones can also result in complications such as cholecystitis (infection of the gallbladder), cholangitis (blockage of the bile duct resulting in pain, fever and jaundice) and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
When do you need a cholecystectomy?
Symptoms of gallstones are often mistaken to be ‘gastric’ in nature and may be dismissed. However, you should seek treatment for severe symptoms such as:
- abdominal pain (usually on the right side, just under the ribs, or in the upper middle part of the tummy)
- pain in the back or right shoulder
- nausea or vomiting
- bloating or indigestion
Cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal can be performed using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, using small instruments and a video camera, which are inserted into the abdomen through a few small keyholes. This is the standard of care for patients with symptomatic gallstones.