Odds are, if your doctor tells you a surgeon needs to remove your gallbladder, your first feeling will be relief. Defective gallbladders can cause intense upper abdominal pain, especially if they are creating stones. After the initial relief that there is a solution to your pain, you might get nervous thinking about the procedure or how you will pay for the operating room charges. Don’t worry. This procedure is very quick and simple, as most surgeons do it laparoscopically today, and actually done as an outpatient procedure in most hospitals now.
Before your surgery you will meet with the surgeon to describe your problem and a pick a date for the procedure. This allows them to review your information with you to make sure it is all correct. The night before your procedure, they will likely ask you to take a laxative to make sure your digestive tract is empty. You will be instructed to arrive to the hospital early so they can ensure they have the necessary paperwork and prepare you for the procedure.
After changing into a hospital gown and meeting your nurse, an anesthesiologist will administer a local anesthetic to relax your muscles and help you to sleep.
Once in the operating room, the surgeon will fill your abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide to expose the organs. Then he or she will make three small incisions, one on either side of your gallbladder and one in your belly button. These are what the surgeon will use as entry points for their instruments. They will cut out the gallbladder at the bile duct and cauterize the duct. Then they will pull the gallbladder out through your bellybutton.
The incisions heal quickly and leave minimal scarring. You will have some pain and discomfort for only a few days after the surgery.