Ray Sheppard Jr., MD
General Surgery and Advanced Robotic Surgery located in Huntsville, AL & Madison, AL
While your gallbladder may not be large in size, the problems this small organ can cause when it malfunctions can be significant. If you suffer from gallbladder disease or a gallbladder dysfunction, Dr. Sheppard offers effective surgical solutions at his practice Ray Sheppard, MD General Surgery in Madison and Huntsville, Alabama. If you want to explore your options in gallbladder surgery, call or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.
Gallbladder Surgery Q & A
What is the gallbladder?
Your gallbladder is a small organ that lies just behind your liver on the right side of your abdomen. The primary role of your gallbladder is to release bile into your small intestine to help with digestion. The alkaline fluid is first produced in your liver, and then it’s stored in your gallbladder for delivery. When it’s released by your gallbladder, the bile helps break down dietary fats.
What are the most common gallbladder problems?
There are many problems that can affect how your gallbladder functions, namely:
This condition is characterized by an inflammation in your gallbladder, which is often caused by gallstones that block the release of bile. If you’re experiencing acute pain in your right side, as well as vomiting, nausea, and fever, you may be suffering from cholecystitis. If there are no gallstones present, but you still have inflammation, this condition is called acalculous cholecystitis.
Gallstones are made from hardened deposits of bile, and they can range in size from a small grain of rice to something the size of a ping pong ball. Gallstones can form for many reasons, such as excess cholesterol, and can produce painful symptoms, or none at all.
This is a problem with how your gallbladder moves bile. If it’s only releasing a portion of the bile — less than 40% — it can lead to pain and inflammation.
While this condition involves the inflammation of a separate organ — your pancreas — it usually stems from gallstones. Pancreatitis is marked by severe pain and typically requires medical care in a hospital setting.
Why would I need to have my gallbladder removed?
If you’re experiencing pain brought about by any of the disorders mentioned above, and it’s not responding to more conservative treatments, gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) is usually the best solution. Dr. Sheppard has extensive experience performing cholecystectomies and uses minimally invasive surgical techniques to reduce your risks and speed up your recovery time. After he removes your gallbladder, your liver secretes the bile directly into your small intestine, so your digestive function won’t be compromised.
If gallstones are the main source of your discomfort, Dr. Sheppard may opt to remove them with a procedure known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which preserves your gallbladder.
To learn more about gallbladder surgery, call Ray Sheppard, MD, or set up an appointment using the online scheduling tool.