Q. How do physicians treat gallstones?
- Most patients need no treatment. The recommended procedure is to remove the gallbladder. The stones are the symptoms of a diseased gallbladder. Treatments to remove the stones are available but require an extended period to work.
Q. What does the gallbladder do?
A. Simply put, the gallbladder stores bile which helps the body digest fat more efficiently.
Q. How long does the surgery take?
- The average time for a laparoscopic procedure would be 45 minutes to an hour.
Q. What kind of testing would I need to know if I had a gallbladder problem?
- The initial test should be a sonogram. Other testing may be necessary if the results are not conclusive.
Q. Is the testing painful?
- That would of course depend on the individual case but in the usual situation, no.
Q. Is there any preparation for the testing?
- Some of the advanced tests require the patient to avoid eating for a period.
Q. Will I be able to go home the same day after surgery?
- Many patients can go home the same day surgery is performed.
Q. What restrictions will I have after surgery?
- Every physician has different views on this. One thing I don’t want my patients to do is participate in very strenuous activities. I also recommend that they make sure they are completely comfortable behind the wheel and able to perform all necessary movements without pain before driving.
Q. How long will I be out of work?
- That depends on what kind of work you do. Most people can get back to work in 3-7 days.
Q. Will there be scars?
- The laparoscopic incisions are all small and over time the scars seem to fade completely.
Q. Could I get the same pain again?
- The gallbladder cannot grow back but a very small number of patients can get stones in the bile duct which can cause similar pains.
Q. Do I need particular care after surgery?
- Most patients do not require any special care.
Q. Is the surgery painful?
- Every patient experiences pain differently. Most experience a little soreness.
Q. When can I shower or bathe.
- Again, surgeons differ on this. I allow my patients to shower immediately and bathe within a week.
Q. What kind of dressings will I have?
- I usually use Tegaderms; small, clear, plastic, water resistant dressings.
Q. What are the side effects?
- About half of patients have some bloating, mild nausea and some diarrhea which disappears in a few weeks.
Q. What are the symptoms of gallbladder disease?
- There may be no symptoms with simple gallstones. Patients may experience intermittent short-lived pain in the right upper abdomen which goes to the back or shoulder. Worse disease may cause long lasting pain with nausea, vomiting and fever.
Q. Will I have to follow a specific diet?
- No. Almost all patients can back to their normal diet within a few days to weeks.