Gallbladder Removal

General & Colorectal Surgeons serving the Greater Houston area
Gallbladder Removal

When gallstones cause sudden, painful attacks, it’s a sure sign you will need gallbladder removal surgery. The board-certified surgeons at Southwest Surgical Associates have extensive experience removing gallbladders using minimally invasive techniques such as traditional laparoscopy and the da Vinci® robotic surgery system. If your gallbladder symptoms return or don’t improve, call the office in Cypress, Katy, Sugarland, Pearland, or Houston, Texas, or connect using online booking today.

When would I need gallbladder removal?

Your gallbladder lies beneath your liver on the right side of your body. The liver produces bile, a fluid that digests fats. Bile is stored in your gallbladder until needed during digestion, and then it travels through bile ducts to your small intestine.

You may need surgery to remove the gallbladder when you have gallstones or cholecystitis. These conditions don’t improve independently and can lead to severe complications.

You may be able to manage your symptoms with medication or dietary adjustments. However, they don’t produce long-lasting results. Eventually, you need to have your gallbladder removed. This is a safe procedure because your liver can send bile directly to the small intestine.

Why do gallstones and cholecystitis lead to gallbladder removal?

Substances dissolved in bile can bind together and turn into hard gallstones. Gallstones usually don’t cause problems until they block the opening to the bile duct. Then bile backs up in the gallbladder.

As bile builds up, inflammation and infection develop. That’s when you have cholecystitis. Without treatment, cholecystitis damages the gallbladder and can rupture the organ.

What symptoms indicate I need gallbladder removal?

Gallstones lead to symptoms such as:

  • Sudden, intense pain in your upper right abdomen
  • Sudden pain in the center of your abdomen
  • Sudden pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain after eating a high-fat meal
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Pain in your right shoulder
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool

Cholecystitis causes the same pain along with a fever.

What happens during gallbladder removal?

Though some people may have underlying problems that require open surgery, most can have a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

During a laparoscopy, your surgeon makes four small incisions in your abdomen. Tiny incisions cause less postoperative pain and help you recover faster than you would after open surgery.

The laparoscope holds a video camera that sends high-definition, magnified images from inside your body to a television monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon removes the gallbladder by viewing the monitor while using narrow instruments inserted through the other incisions.

In some cases, your surgeon may perform laparoscopy using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. The robotic system allows them to perform more precise surgery because the robotic arm has greater dexterity and a better range of motion than manual instruments.

If you experience intense upper abdominal pain, don’t wait to call Southwest Surgical Associates or book an appointment online.


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If you’ve ever felt that medical care has become too much about business and not enough about you, you’ve probably never visited Southwest Surgical Associates. Here, you’ll be surrounded by compassion and attentiveness from the moment you enter. At Southwest Surgical you will experience warm, caring smiles at the front desk and nurses who call you by name and treat you like family. Moments like these will make you realize that old-fashioned, personalized medical care isn’t gone; it’s right here… along with today’s state-of-the-art treatment methods.
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