GARTH H. BALLANTYNE, M.D., M.B.A.
BOARD CERTIFIED IN:
GENERAL SURGERY & COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY
OFFICE: 4 Shaw's Cove, New London, CT 06320
Surgeon in Chief
Practice Limited to Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgery
Lawrence & Memorial Hospital
New London, CT 06320
PRACTICE LIMITED TO LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY
CONTACT US AT:
This page last updated:
September 11, 2010 11:49 AM
Gallbladder removal -known to physicians as cholecystectomy (Ko le sis TEK to me) - is a
relatively straightforward and commonly performed surgical procedure. Until recently,
however, the surgery required a six- to nine-inch incision and a weeklong stay in the
hospital, followed by four to six weeks of recovery at home. Healing of the surgical
incision could entail considerable pain.
Today, gallbladder surgery can be performed by laparoscopy, a minimally invasive
technique not requiring a large incision. Patients usually return home on the morning
following surgery, and they can resume their normal routine within a week. With
laparoscopy, patients lose less blood during surgery, and they experience far less pain.
At the Center for Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital
Center, cholecystectomy patients benefit from the latest laparoscopic technology,
including three dimensional imaging equipment and the most advanced ultrasound
instruments in use anywhere.
TREATING GALLBLADDER PROBLEMS
Gallbladder problems are usually caused by gallstones, which are small hard masses that
form in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. These stones may block the flow of bile, a
digestive agent produced by the liver. As a result, the gallbladder may swell, causing
sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, and indigestion.
Some gallstones can be treated with drugs or managed by changing one's diet, particularly
by eliminating fat. When these options fail, however, removing the gallbladder becomes
necessary. After removal, bile will continue to flow from the liver to the small intestine,
but it will no longer be stored in the gallbladder.
Virtually all patients needing cholecystectomy are candidates for laparoscopic surgery.
Before recommending minimally invasive surgery, however, Dr. Ballantyne will carefully
review your condition. If laparoscopy is appropriate, Dr. Ballantyne will discuss the
benefits, risks, and complications of the procedure
Once the operation is scheduled, a physician at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center-or
your personal physician-will evaluate your health and perform routine blood tests. You will
also meet with an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist before the operation.
You will be admitted to the hospital on the morning of your procedure. Because
laparoscopic gallbladder removal is performed under general anesthesia, you cannot eat
or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery.
THE LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY PROCEDURE:
The first step in laparoscopic gallbladder removal is the insertion into the abdomen of four
trocars, narrow tube-like instruments that require only very small surgical incisions. Into
one trocar, Dr. Ballantyne inserts a laparoscope, which is a telescopic videocamera that
provides magnified and dramatically enhanced views of internal organs. Other surgical
instruments are inserted through the other trocars.
During surgery, the common bile duct and artery at the base of the gallbladder are
severed from the liver using electronic instruments, then sealed. The surgeon empties the
gallbladder of its contents and draws it out through one of the incisions. The incisions are
then closed with surgical tape or stitches.
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room. In the hours following
the operation, you will experience some pain from the small incisions made to permit
insertion of the trocars. Under normal circumstances, you will be able to return home the
At home, you will be able to take care of yourself and enjoy your regular diet. In as few as
three or four days, you can return to your normal routine, including work. If you exercise,
you can also resume a fitness program and sports competition.
After a few months, the surgical incisions will be barely visible.
or browse these other pages:
Copyright 1996, Garth Hadden Ballantyne, M.D., P.C. All rights reserved.
50 East 69th Street, New York, New York 10021 (212)-249-2626 or (800)-LAP-SURG