Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery in Santa Barbara, California
Removing the gallbladder is one of the most common operations performed by general surgeons. Symptoms of a diseased gallbladder include pain in the upper abdomen and nausea. The gallbladder is typically filled with stones, which can lead to inflammation. These stones can also drain into the duct that connects the gallbladder to the intestine. It is necessary to remove the entire gallbladder and all of the stones in the duct. Dr. David Thoman specializes in laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery, including gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) in Santa Barbara, California.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) include:
- Requires up to 3 small incisions on the abdomen instead of 1 large incision.
- Offered as a single-incision procedure for some patients.
- Removing the gallstones in the bile ducts eliminates the need to perform an ERCP the next day (an additional procedure with its own set of complications).
- Involves a shorter hospital stay where many are able to go home the day of surgery.
- Reduced postoperative pain.
- Recovery time reduced from weeks to days, enabling patients to return to their normal activities, including work, earlier.
How is laparoscopic gallbladder surgery performed?
During laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, Dr. Thoman inserts a lighted, 1/4-inch wide instrument called a laparoscope into a small incision in the abdomen. A tiny video camera guides him during the surgery. He uses gas to inflate the abdomen and view the operative area more clearly. During traditional laparascopic surgery, several additional small incisions are made in the abdomen through which tiny specialized surgical instruments are inserted. These instruments are used to carefully dissect out the gallbladder. Dye is then injected into the duct draining it and an X-ray is taken. This will show if any stones are left behind. If stones are found, a second flexible scope is fed down the duct and the stones are pulled out with a special basket. The entire procedure can be done through the same small incisions.
Request Appointment Link
What is the single-incision technique?
An innovator in minimally-invasive techniques, Dr. Thoman was the first Central Coast surgeon to perform gallbladder surgery through a single-incision in the belly button. He inserts the instruments and camera through one incision in the belly button instead of the multiple tiny incisions used with the traditional laparoscopic method. Because the incision is concealed in the belly button there is no noticeable scar afterwards.
Dr. Thoman has successfully performed single-incision hernia surgery, gallbladder surgery, appendectomy, and LAP-BAND® surgery in California as well. While Dr. Thoman must determine whether this technique is appropriate for you, it is appealing to patients who would like to avoid scars.
What can I expect after surgery?
Most of our patients are up to walking around and taking care of themselves within hours of their gall bladder surgery. Any abdominal soreness they experience is typically minor and subsides within 2 weeks. As the small incisions for the surgery do not rupture like with open surgery, you can usually return to unrestricted activity including lifting and exercising.
How safe is laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
The majority of general surgeons should be able to safely perform laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. However, special training is usually necessary to be able to remove the stones that can fall into the duct.