The gallbladder is an often misunderstood organ, but one capable of causing a lot of pain. As a surgical specialist, Dr. Erica Podolsky at South Palm Beach Surgical Associates in Boca Raton, Florida is able to diagnose a gallbladder condition and create a strategic plan to manage or even eliminate that pain. Whether it is gallstones or something more insidious like cancer, it can become necessary to remove the organ surgically to prevent further problems.
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that sits under the liver. Its job is to store bile, a fluid the liver makes to help digest fat. Consider the gallbladder as a storage cabinet for bile. When necessary, it releases bile into the digestive system through the common bile duct, a tube that connects the gallbladder to the duodenum in the small intestine. There, the bile works to digest fats.
As important as all that sounds, the truth is that your body can survive without the gallbladder. Removing it via a surgical procedure, typically the minimally invasive cholecystectomy is the best course of treatment for most gallbladder issues.
A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. At one time, this was a highly serious surgery – one that required a large incision to access the gallbladder. Thanks to laparoscopic technology, today, specialists like Dr. Podolsky can reach the organ and remove it without unnecessary cutting and long recovery times.
The laparoscopic version of this surgery requires just four small incisions in your abdomen. Dr. Podolsky inserts a tube with a tiny video camera into the abdominal cavity and removes the gallbladder using surgical instruments inserted through these incisions.
The laparoscopic surgery is not the right choice for every patient, though. If it turns out that Dr. Podolsky can't reach a patient's gallbladder using the scope, she may decide to do an open cholecystectomy, instead.
Generally, speaking, if this organ is causing chronic pain, removing it is the best course of action, but Dr. Podolsky will look at all options before making that decision. Some common gallbladder conditions she treats include:
Anyone of these medical problems could lead to gallbladder removal.
Gallstones are one of the most common forms of gallbladder disease. A gallstone is a little rock made from the hardened digestive fluid. It's unclear why some people get them, but the current theories include too much cholesterol in the bile, too much bilirubin, or a gallbladder that fails to empty properly. A gallstone can resolve itself without surgical intervention, but when it becomes a chronic problem, Dr. Podolsky might want to discuss surgery as a treatment option.