Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ under your liver that stores and concentrates bile to help digest fat. Gallbladder disease includes inflammation, infection, or blockage (obstruction) of the gallbladder. The most common blockage is a gallstone. Gallstones are pebble-like and solid. They can be as large as a golf ball or as small as a grain of sand.
Gallbladder disease is very common, affecting about 10-15 percent of adults in Europe and the United States. It is more common in women, Native Americans, Hispanics, the obese, and people over age 40. Symptoms of gallbladder disease may include pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen, abdominal fullness, clay-colored stool, fever, nausea, and vomiting, or yellowing of skin and whites of eyes (jaundice).
Treatment for gallbladder disease may include lifestyle changes, medicines, and procedures. However, when routine medical care does not ease your symptoms, surgery may be needed. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, doctors may need to remove your gallbladder. This operation is known as a cholecystectomy.
Gallbladder surgery is generally performed using manual laparoscopy. This technique uses several small incisions to access the gallbladder. The approach is intended to speed recovery, minimize pain, reduce blood loss and complications while offering the added benefit of minimal scarring. Many surgeons also perform laparoscopic surgery through one incision to virtually eliminate scarring.
Single-Site da Vinci Surgery: A Virtually Scarless Procedure
If you have been told you need gallbladder surgery, ask your doctor about Single-Site da Vinci surgery. This procedure is performed through a single incision using precision instruments. Patients who choose Single-Site da Vinci surgery may experience a virtually scarless procedure since surgery is performed through only one incision in the navel (belly button), which dramatically limits visible scarring.
Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.
The primary potential benefits of Single-Site da Vinci surgery may include minimal scarring, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, and a shorter hospital stay.
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is unique to each patient and procedure.
da Vinci Surgical System with Single-Site Technology
The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to overcome the limitations of manual laparoscopy with enhanced capabilities, including high-definition 3-D vision and a magnified view. Your doctor controls the da Vinci System, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body.
Though it is often called a robot, da Vinci cannot act on its own – the surgery is performed entirely by your doctor. Together, the da Vinci system and Single-Site instruments allow your doctor to perform gallbladder surgery through a single incision. As a result, you may be able to get back to your life without the recovery or scars that usually follow major surgery.
All surgeries, including da Vinci surgery, involve the risk of major complications. Before you decide on surgery, discuss treatment options with your doctor. Understanding the risks of each treatment can help you make the best decision for your situation.
Get Past the Pain
Gallstones and other digestive issues can be a major pain in the gut. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options, click for a list of general surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Frisco, or call 1.855.4.FRISCO (437-4726) for a physician near you.