The gallbladder is an organ located in the upper right part of the abdomen. It is shaped like a pear and connects to the common bile duct, which carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. While eating, a person’s gallbladder contracts and empties extra bile into the intestine to assist with the digestive process.
An unhealthy gallbladder is inflamed and unable to function properly. Some unhealthy gallbladders develop stones. Though anyone can experience gallbladder disease, women who are overweight and over the age of 35 have a greater risk. Research has also shown gallbladder issues are hereditary.
Symptoms of gallbladder disease include:
- Pain in the right upper side of the abdomen or below the breast bone
Symptoms are typically worse after eating fatty or greasy food. Pain can radiate throughout the abdomen and can be severe.
Diagnosing and Treating Gallbladder Disease
Gallbladder disease may require surgical removal of the organ. The process is typically performed laparoscopically. Occasionally, the gallbladder can be removed with one incision hidden in the belly button using the daVinci robot. In the rare event a patient experiences a severe infection preventing use of laparoscopic surgery, a standard open incision operation is used.
- Bleeding or infection
- Injury to surrounding organs
- Bile duct injury or blockage
- Diarrhea or other post cholecystectomy symptoms
- Need for additional surgery
- Complications from anesthesia