The gallbladder plays an important role in the digestion process. It is a small pear-shaped organ positioned just beneath the liver. The gallbladder’s function is to store bile, produced by the liver, which then helps to break down the food and fat in the intestines. When a person has a meal, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine, where it aids in the digestion process. Bile is crucial to the body’s ability to absorb fat and vitamins from food. However, problems with gallbladder health can sometimes trigger a need for gallbladder surgery or complete gallbladder removal. Dr Harald Puhalla is fully qualified to perform these surgeries and can advise his patients on their necessity.
Gallbladder Health Problems
The health issue that is most likely to affect the gallbladder is the formation of gallstones. The bile in the gallbladder is a mixture of fluid, cholesterol and fats. Sometimes, the cholesterol levels in the bile can get too high, usually caused by an especially rich diet. When this kind of imbalance occurs, it results in the formation of cholesterol ‘crystals,’ or gallstones.
Some patients with gallstones may not notice any symptoms. Others will experience considerable pain, especially following a meal as the gallbladder contracts and the stones move around or are pushed into the bile ducts. Ultimately, this movement of the stones can cause cholecystitis or gallbladder inflammation. More severely, gallstones can block the bile ducts, impeding the flow of bile into the small intestine. This blockage can cause jaundice or infection.
Gallstones won’t go away on their own, which means that, if they are symptomatic, they will likely require surgical attention. First, the surgeon will use an ultrasound to visualise the gallstones and to make sure that gallstones are the culprit behind the pain. From there, the doctor will determine whether you need surgery. Roughly four in every five patients with gallstones will require surgery.
The most common surgery for gallstone removal is a full cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal. This surgery is one of the most common types of general surgery. It can be performed both as an open procedure or as a laparoscopic, minimally invasive procedure. The patient’s medical history and weight will impact which surgery is the safest and most appropriate for their situation. This gallbladder surgery can also be used to help treat and remove cancer in the gallbladder or the bile ducts.
Talk to Dr Puhalla about Gallbladder Removal Today
While gallbladder removal may seem like an extreme course of action to deal with gallstones, it is the safest and most effective way of solving the problem. Gallbladder surgery is extremely common and bears a low risk of complications. While the gallbladder plays an important role in the body, it is still an organ you can live without. The gallbladder is merely the storage reservoir for the bile created by the liver. The liver can deliver the bile directly to the intestines, allowing digestion to work as normal. Patients who have had their gallbladder removed occasionally report changes in digestion or more frequent bowel movements. In some cases, lifestyle changes are necessary, such as the adoption of a diet that is low in fat or eating smaller meals more frequently. In terms of long term health or wellbeing, though, prognosis for patients who have had their gallbladders removed tend to be very positive.
Learn more about gallbladder surgery by contacting Dr Puhalla today.