Surprise, surprise — turns out the gallbladder, despite public opinion, performs an important bodily function. It serves as a conduit from the liver to the small intestine, supplying much needed bile to aid in the digestion of fats.
Although removing the gallbladder has shown to produce no major adverse outcomes in already healthy patients, the small intestine still requires bile and receives it from other organs in the absence of the of the gallbladder. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can go a long way in keeping the gallbladder healthy.
Most people don’t give their gallbladder a second thought until it causes severe pain, which usually stems from the development of gallstones that obstruct the ducts leading from the gallbladder to the small intestines — a condition known as cholecystitis. Left untreated, cholecystitis can leading to serious, life-threatening conditions including rupture of the gallbladder.
Doctors have identified diet restrictions that can possibly preempt a gallbladder attack. Eating a well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fiber and drinking plenty of water is best. Avoiding eggs and fried foods is recommended, along with abstaining from dairy products, corn, beans, nuts and mayonnaise. But these diet restraints do not guarantee a healthy gallbladder.
Gallbladder Attack: Cholecystitis
Despite precautions a gallbladder attack can still occur, and you need to know the symptoms — they start with pain in the pit of your stomach or the upper right part of your abdomen. Other common symptoms include abdominal fullness; clay-colored stool; fever; nausea; vomiting; and yellowing of the skin or eyes, known as jaundice.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe abdominal pain — which can be likened to that of a heart attack or even labor. Surgical removal of the gallbladder, known as cholecystectomy, is the treatment of choice for cholecystitis when the pain is severe. The procedure is quite common.
In the past, patients had two options when it came to cholecystitis — laparoscopic or open gallbladder surgery. But today Renown Institute for Robotic Surgery offers da Vinci Single-Site surgery for gallbladder removal.
Unlike traditional gallbladder and laparoscopic surgeries, da Vinci Single-Site surgery requires a single incision in the patient’s navel, the benefits of which are many: quicker recovery, shorter hospital stay, minimal to no scarring, high patient satisfaction and less pain after surgery.
If despite your best efforts, your gallbladder goes on strike and the pain is severe, contact your doctor immediately. Find out your treatment options and if robotic surgery is right for you.