Specializing in Minimally Invasive Surgery
We specialize in minimally
invasive surgery including:

Reflux Surgery
Esophageal Myotomy for Achalasia

General Surgical service for
treatment of the following:

Anorectal Disease
Breast Disease
Dialysis Access
Endocrine Disease
Gastrointestinal Disease
Lower Extremity Venous Disease
Skin Cancer
Trauma Surgery
Pediatric Surgery

McLeod Health

Gastrointestinal Disease
Gallbladder Disease

What is the gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a sac-like structure, located on the underside of the liver. It stores bile, a substance that aids in fat digestion. The gallbladder releases the bile into the small intestines after meals.

What are gallstones?
Gallstones are literally solid "stones" that form in the gallbladder. These stones can irritate the gallbladder and sometimes impair the release of bile.

What are common symptoms of gallstones?
The most common symptoms include pain in the right upper abdomen combined with nausea and vomiting. These symptoms typically occur after meals, particularly fatty meals. Gallstones are also the most common cause of pancreatitis. This occurs when gallstones block up the tubes leading to the small intestines.

How are gallstones diagnosed?
Gallstones are seen on an abdominal ultrasound. This is a noninvasive, painless test.

What if I have these symptoms, but I don't have gallstones on ultrasound?
There are other problems associated with the gallbladder aside from gallstones. Sometimes the gallbladder does not empty properly, which can result in the same symptoms as gallstones. This condition is known as biliary dyskinesia.

What is a cholecystectomy?
A cholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder. This is almost always done laparoscopically, through 4 very small incisions (1 - 2 cm each). This surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis; however your surgeon may decide to keep you in the hospital overnight. Sometimes the gallbladder cannot be removed laparoscopically. This is usually because of prior extensive abdominal surgery or because of severe infection or inflammation of the gallbladder. If all anatomy cannot be clearly seen, the surgeon will convert to an "open" or traditional procedure.

How commonly is this procedure performed?
In 2006, the surgeons at Pee Dee Surgical Group performed this procedure over 800 times. It is important to choose a surgeon who routinely does this operation.

Why not just remove the gallstones?
If the gallstones are removed, more stones are likely to form in their place. Removing the gallbladder is a permanent solution.

Can I live normally without a gallbladder?
Your body adjusts quickly once the gallbladder is removed. Your liver will continue to make bile, just as it always has. The bile will then be continually released into the small intestines for fat digestion.

What is the usual postoperative course?
After surgery, patients are usually sore for a few days. This soreness decreases everyday, and they are usually back to full activity in 1 to 2 weeks.

What are my instructions following surgery?
Plan on taking it easy for the first several days, but you should try to move around as much as you can. You will have a prescription for pain medication. These medications can cause constipation which can usually be relieved by a stool softener. If your pain is mild, Tylenol can be used. Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for your incisions. It is normal to have loose stools after your gallbladder is removed while your body is adjusting to the new flow of bile. If this occurs, decreasing the fat content in your diet usually improves this. Your surgeon will see you back in the office in 1 to 2 weeks.

What symptoms should I call my doctor for?
-temperature greater than 101.5
-drainage from the incision or increased redness around the incision
-nausea and vomiting that persists
-jaundice (yellow eyes, skin)
-increase in abdominal pain
-shortness of breath
-pain, swelling in the calf

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