How to Prepare for Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

What is a cholecystectomy?

Cholecystectomy is the procedure to remove the gallbladder when it is inflamed and gives rise to relevant symptoms. In the traditional approach, a 5 – 8 cm cut will be placed on your upper abdomen and the surgeon will locate the gallbladder as well as the relevant ducts through direct vision and the removal will be made. But, at present, a less invasive technique is being followed by most of the surgeons which is named as laparoscopic cholecystectomy whereas the previous procedure is given the name, ‘open cholecystectomy’.

What happens in laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Laparoscopy is a technique which has gained popularity among many of the clinicians due to its less invasive nature. It is used as a diagnostic tool as well as a treatment procedure as in the case of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The process make use of several tube like structures inserted through tiny cuts made over the abdomen and the surgeon will be able to visualize the abdominal content and therefore the gallbladder and related structures in a television screen. While visualizing, the other instruments will enable the surgeon to perform the surgery in removing the gallbladder. The advantage of this procedure in contrast to the open method is its swift recovery and in many instances the patient will leave the hospital after single overnight stay following the surgery.

What are the preparations required before the laparoscopic procedure?

The most important step before this type of surgery is the patient selection and the surgeons will be looking at several different aspects before deciding to offer this surgery. Thus, if you have undergone similar surgeries in the same region, if there are adhesions which obscure the visual field through the laparoscopy, presence of bleeding tendencies as well as any other condition giving rise to Cholecystitis other than gallstones, the clinicians may opt to select open surgery instead laparoscopic techniques.

Secondly, your fitness for surgery will be assessed using blood investigations, imaging studies, clotting profiles, ECG…etc and in case of existing medical problems such as diabetes, they should be controlled to the level in which relevant complications would not play a part in the recovery process.

Thirdly, the doctors will advice on how you should eat and drink before the surgery and in certain instances the advice could be to be on low residue diet and liquids for about 3 days and to take bowel cleansing agents before the surgery. At the same time, you may be advised to stop taking anything from the midnight before the day of the surgery and only to take medications as advised by the doctors with a sip of water.

Furthermore, if you are taking medications such as aspirin or any other blood thinners, they may have to be stopped few days before and it is therefore a must for you to discuss these issues beforehand with your surgeon.

Lastly but not least, few days before the surgery, you may want to inform your insurance company to deal with the documentations and make sure the documents are ready by the time you admit yourself for surgery.

Apart from these preparatory steps, one needs to adhere to any other instructions given by the clinicians according to your health status as well as depending on how they intend to perform the surgery.