What Is Minimally Invasive Gallbladder Surgery?

Most people sail through life without giving their gallbladders a second thought. But when a problem crops up, such as chronic gallstones, this seemingly insignificant organ takes on a new role in your life — and it isn’t pleasant.

When your gallbladder develops problems, the pain and discomfort they cause can impact your life in meaningful ways, preventing you from functioning normally. While your organs are meant to serve you for a lifetime, there are times when they become more of a liability than an asset, which can be the case with your gallbladder.

Luckily, the procedure to remove your gallbladder has evolved and minimally invasive surgical techniques have changed the way doctors approach removing a gallbladder. As a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Akopian has extensive experience using these minimally invasive techniques, allowing his patients in Pasadena, California, to put an end to painful gallbladder conditions, without the need for open surgery.

The role of your gallbladder

Before we get into how we remove your gallbladder using minimally invasive surgical techniques, let’s review what role this small organ plays, what problems can develop in the gallbladder, and why it’s safe to have it removed.

Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies below the right lobe of your liver. Its primary role is to store the bile produced by your liver, which your body uses to break down fats in your digestive system.

If your bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, or it doesn’t empty properly, you may be prone to developing gallstones, which are hardened deposits of bile that can range in size from a speck of dirt to a grape. Should your gallstones shift and block your duct, you’re left with considerable pain.

If you have chronic problems with gallstones, your best solution may be to have us remove your gallbladder in a procedure called a cholecystectomy, which is one of the more common surgeries performed today.  Once we remove this organ, your liver simply releases the bile directly into your digestive tract, and you shouldn’t have any lingering problems due to your gallbladder’s absence.

Leave little trace

When it comes to surgery, the two words that you want to hear are “minimally invasive.” At the heart of this surgical technique is the laparoscope, which is a tiny camera mounted on a specialized instrument, which Dr. Akopian threads through a small incision to give him a 3D view of the surgical site. Once he has a clear view of the area, which he sees in real-time on a video monitor, he relies on small instruments that translate the movements of his hands to remove your gallbladder.

This ability to perform surgery without the need for opening the area up wide for both visual and manual access has been a game-changer for our patients. With our minimally invasive gallbladder surgery, we only make a few small incisions, which reduces your risk for infection and also greatly minimizes any collateral tissue damage. For these reasons, recovery times are much shorter with our minimally invasive surgical techniques.

In fact, in most cases, you can go home the same day as your gallbladder surgery, although you may need a night in the hospital for observation depending on how the surgery goes.

And while the surgery may be minimally invasive, we still suggest that you take it easy for a few days, keep your small incisions clean, and give your body time to heal.

If you’d like to learn more about minimally invasive gallbladder surgery, please give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.


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