“The gallbladder essentially has a storage function. Bile is produced by your liver, it’s stored in your gallbladder between meals and then it’s pushed out into your intestinal track to help you break down digest and absorb fats from your diet,” says Dr. Darren Miter, a laparoscopic surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.
Despite its role in our digestion, we can live without our gallbladder. When it becomes problematic, doctors commonly take it out.
“The two most common reasons to have to have the gallbladder removed are number one having stones within the gallbladder that intermittently will cause pain or nausea or bloating when you eat,” says Dr. Miter.
Another reason for removal is when the gallbladder isn’t doing its job.
“It’s just not functioning appropriately and causing abdominal pain, bloating, etcetera,” says Dr. Miter.
Gallbladder surgery used to be a major undertaking but thanks to advances in laparoscopic techniques, surgeons can remove the gallbladder without opening the abdomen.
“The vast majority of gallbladder surgeries are performed laparoscopically nowadays through three or four, five-millimeter to one-centimeter incisions on the belly,” says Dr. Miter.
That takes the place of a six- to eight-inch scar either below the rib cage or above the belly button. The laparoscopic procedure is done under general anesthesia and has a quick recovery time.
“After surgery I’ll advice patients to avoid fried, fatty and greasy foods for a brief period after the surgery until the body gets used to the fact that the gallbladder’s no longer there,” says Dr. Miter.
So if you cant live with it, there is a surgical solution to live without your gallbladder.