Reviewed by David Derrer on February 06, 2014

Sources

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Video Transcript

Narrator: Your gallbladder is a small pear shaped sac in the upper right side of the abdomen that attaches to the underside of the liver. The gallbladder's function is to store a digestive juice made by the liver called bile. When needed, the gallbladder sends bile through the common bile duct to your small intestine, where it helps your body digest foods. Gallstones are hard masses, often made of cholesterol and bile salts, that may move and block the flow of bile out of your gallbladder. The blockage, which is most common in women, can lead to pain in the abdomen, back and shoulder blades. If the gallstones become impacted, other more serious problems can occur. If you have gallstones or other gallbladder problems, your doctor may recommend you have gallbladder surgery, or cholescystectomy. If you are having a laparoscopic cholescystectomy, your surgeon will perform the operation through four small incisions in your abdomen. After filling your abdomen with gas to allow greater visibility, your surgeon will insert a a tiny telescope connected to a video camera called a laparoscope. Using magnified images of your gallbladder as a guide, your surgeon will insert instruments into the other incisions and then separate the gallbladder from its attachments, removing the collapsed gallbladder through one of the incisions. At the end of your procedure, your surgeon will release the gas from your abdomen and sew or tape the incisions closed. Another method of removing your gallbladder is called an open technique. In this procedure, your doctor will make an incision just under the rib cage to remove the gallbladder. The incision is closed with stitches or staples.