Many patient's lives are disrupted by the dysfunction of the gallbladder. This can result from the presence or absence of gallstones. Common symptoms include right upper quadrant pain, nausea, vomiting, substernal chest discomfort, fatty or greasy food intolerance and pancreatitis. The diagnosis is usually made by the finding of gallstones on ultrasound. However, the gallbladder can be dysfunctional without gallstones. This is usually diagnosed by a test called HIDA scan with CCK injection. A decreased ejection fraction or reproduction of the symptoms is suggestive of a dysfunctional gallbladder.
The gallbladder can be removed minimally invasive or laparoscopically. This is done with 4 small incisions as an outpatient procedure. This is done in an ambulatory surgery center with minimal discomfort and limitations. Most patients can eat a regular diet the evening of surgery and return to work with no restrictions in about a week. There is minimal discomfort and scarring associated with the procedure. Most patients can be scheduled for their procedure shortly after the office visit.