Living with gallbladder problems can be a pain—literally. If you’ve experienced the agony of a gallbladder attack, you know that kind of discomfort can’t wait.
Expert Gallbladder Care Close to Home
When you choose Pella Regional Health Center for gallbladder care, you gain access to the skilled physicians and advanced equipment that can quickly and effectively diagnose and treat a wide range of gallbladder issues. You benefit from expert care close to home.
Surgical Innovation & Advanced Technology
If you need surgery, you can take advantage of our robotic-assisted technology that allows your surgeon to treat your condition through a single, tiny incision. You’ll find this innovative surgical system at Pella Regional—the first and one of only a few hospitals in Iowa to offer this minimally invasive procedure—and we’re right nearby.
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 are gallstones?
Gallstones are a common gallbladder disorder. They are hard deposits that form when chemicals inside the gallbladder are out of balance. Gallstones generally stay in the gallbladder and cause no problems to people who have them. But when the stones move out of the gallbladder and become lodged in the bile duct, they can cause inflammation, infection and extreme pain. Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
What are the symptoms of gallstones?
Gallstones blocking the bile duct are often called a gallbladder "attack" because they occur suddenly. Gallbladder attacks often follow fatty meals and 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.
How are gallbladder problems treated?
Dietary changes can sometimes help with gallbladder symptoms. 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 since the gallbladder is an organ that you can live without.
If I need gallbladder surgery, what are my options?
Open gallbladder surgery requires a large incision, which may require weeks or months of recovery time. Another option, laparoscopic gallbladder removal, uses small cameras and extended tools for surgeons to work through very small cuts. This option reduces recovery time to only days.
The latest option for gallbladder removal is single-site robotic surgery. This means there is only one incision, usually at the belly button. With da Vinci robotic gallbladder removal, surgeons are able to operate with better precision, dexterity and control and patients benefit from:
- 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
Pella Regional Health Center is one of only a few hospitals in Iowa to offer this option.
Am I a candidate for robotic gallbladder surgery?
Only you and your doctor can decide if da Vinci surgery is right for you. Schedule an appointment with one of our general surgeons or call 641-628-6772.