da Vinci Robotic Gallbladder Surgery
Gallbladder surgery is a very common procedure for a general surgeon. Now, patients have the option of having their gallbladder removed by a single site robotic surgery. This means there is only one incision, usually at the belly button, where the surgeon enters the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Pella Regional Health Center is the only hospital in Iowa to offer this procedure. Dr. Matt Morgan, general surgeon, is one of fewer than 20 general surgeons in the nation trained in this area.
By overcoming the limits of both traditional open and laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, single site robotic surgery is greatly improving the experience of surgery for patients.
Request an appointment with Dr. Matt Morgan now to determine if you are a candidate for robotic gallbladder removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is my gallbladder and what does my gallbladder do?
Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ under your liver-see image. It stores bile, a fluid made by your liver to digest fat. As your stomach and intestines digest food, your gallbladder releases bile through a tube called the common bile duct. The duct connects your gallbladder and liver to your small intestine.
What is gallbladder disease?
Gallbladder disease causes inflammation, infection, or blockage of the gallbladder, as well as gallstones. Specific types of gallbladder disease include:
- Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Chronic acalculous gallbladder disease (the natural movements needed to empty the gallbladder do not work well)
- Gangrene (decay of body tissues) or abscesses (collection of pus)
- Growths of tissue (polyps) in the gallbladder
- Defects of the gallbladder that are present at birth (congenital)
- Sclerosing cholangitis (swelling of the bile ducts of the liver)
- Tumors of the gallbladder and bile ducts
What are the symptoms of gallbladder disease?
Symptoms of blocked bile ducts are often called a gallbladder “attack” because they occur suddenly. Gallbladder attacks often follow fatty meals, and they may occur during the night. A typical attack can cause:
- Steady pain in the right upper abdomen that increases quickly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours.
- Pain in the back between the shoulder blades.
- Pain under the right shoulder.
Many people with gallstones have no symptoms. These gallstones are called “silent stones.” They do not interfere with gallbladder, liver, or pancreas function and do not need treatment.
What do I do if I have a gallbladder attack?
Notify your doctor if you think you have experienced a gallbladder attack. Although these attacks often pass as the gallstones move, your gallbladder can become infected and rupture if a blockage remains. People with any of the following symptoms should see a doctor immediately:
- Prolonged pain—more than 5 hours
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever - even low-grade - or chills
- Yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes
- Clay-colored stools
How is gallbladder disease treated?
Dietary changes can sometimes help with symptoms related to the gallbladder. Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to treat a gallbladder infection, but this medication will not get rid of gallstones. Surgical removal of the gallbladder is often recommended to control or eliminate severe symptoms as the gallbladder is an organ that you can live without.
If I need gallbladder surgery, do I have options?
Open gallbladder surgery means a large incision, which may require weeks or months of recovery time. Another option, laparoscopic gall bladder removal uses small cameras and extended tools for surgeons to work through very small cuts for the removal. This option reduces recovery time to only days.
With da Vinci robotic gallbladder removal, surgeons are able to operate with better precision, dexterity and control. For patients the advantages are:
- Significantly less pain
- Minimal blood loss and need for transfusion
- Fewer complications
- Shorter hospital stay
- Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
- Small incisions for minimal scarring
The latest option for gallbladder removal is single site robotic surgery, with Pella Regional as the only hospital in Iowa to offer this option. This means there is only one incision, usually at the belly button, along with all of the other advantages of robotic surgery.