The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ near your liver in the upper right part of your tummy. It collects and stores bile. This is a digestive fluid produced in your liver that helps to break down fatty foods. If there is an imbalance in the substances that make up bile, you may develop small stones in your gallbladder. These are called gallstones and often do not cause any symptoms. Sometimes, however, they can block the flow of bile and irritate your gallbladder or pancreas. This can cause symptoms such as:
- sudden, severe pain in the tummy,
- feeling or being sick
- yellowing of the skin and the white part of the eyes.
You can lead a normal life without a gallbladder and bile still reaches your digestive system. If you have painful gallstones or other problems with your gallbladder, your doctor often recommends surgery to remove it. The operation to remove your gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy. To reduce your recovery time, it is mainly carried out with keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. If you have keyhole surgery, you are given a general anaesthetic. This means that you are asleep and do not feel any pain. The procedure is minimally invasive and takes about one hour. You can usually go home the next day.
Your surgeon makes a few small cuts in your tummy. They pump a harmless gas into your tummy and insert a long, thin tube called a laparoscope. This tube has a light and camera on the end and lets your surgeon see inside your tummy on a monitor. The surgeon then uses special equipment to remove your gallbladder. Finally, they release the gas from your tummy, close your skin with stitches and cover the wound with a dressing.
Here at Highgate Private Hospital, we have a team of consultants who are experts in gallbladder removal surgery. We offer an all-inclusive self-pay package for keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery to remove your gallbladder. Prices for the operation, a routine microscope study to check for any abnormal cells and one follow-up appointment start from £4,531 (terms and conditions apply). For more information, please call our self-pay advisers on 020 3918 9463.