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Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique that has been perfected in the past two decades that enables surgeons to surgically repair or remove organs in the body through small incisions that result in fewer complications, surrounding tissue damage and faster healing times. A gallbladder removal procedure is called a cholecystectomy.
The gallbladder is an organ in the body located directly beneath the liver on the right side of the body. The gallbladder gathers and concentrates digestive juices or liquid produced by the liver called bile, which aids in the digestive process.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Procedure
In traditional gallbladder removal procedures, the surgeon was required to make a long (approximately 6 to 8 inches)incision in the abdomen, starting just below the ribs on the right side of the body, extending down to the waist.
The laparoscopic approach enables the surgeon to make 3 to 4 very small incisions through which the laparoscope, a long, thin tube equipped with a camera at one and that enables the surgeon to view the surgical field on a monitor or screen in the operating room, is inserted along with specialized operating instruments that require minimal movement by the surgeon to anchor, repair, or remove a specific organ such as the gallbladder.
Prior to the surgical procedure, x-rays will be taken and blood work analyzed. The surgeon may request a clear liquid diet for one to three days prior to the surgical procedure and any type of blood thinners will be discontinued prior to the surgery.
The patient will be placed under general anesthesia to sleep during the operation. A cannula, a long, narrow tube is inserted through a very small incision beneath the naval, through which the laparoscope is inserted. The laparoscope functions like a small telescope or camera, transmitting images from inside the body to a computer screen or monitor in the operating room.
Two or three other cannulas will be inserted into very small incisions in the abdomen which allow the insertion of specialized instruments that enabled the surgeon to remove the gallbladder through one of the small incisions.
Who Benefits from Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
Anyone undergoing a laparoscopic gallbladder removal will benefit from the minimally invasive procedure that reduces pain and discomfort, offers shorter recovery time, and reduces the risk of complications such as infection and surrounding tissue damage. In most cases, a patient undergoing a laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedure is required only to stay in a hospital overnight, rather than the several days required through the traditional or open gallbladder surgery approach.
How much does Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Cost?
Patients undergoing laparoscopic surgical procedures may enjoy savings of tens of thousands of dollars in hospital care costs due to shortened hospital stay time. In the United States, the cost of laparoscopic gallbladder removal averages about $3,000 to $8,000 but lab costs and anesthesiology and hospital stay may leave patients with a bill of approximately $25,000 to $50,000 depending on geographical location.
Medical tourists traveling to destinations such as Thailand or Singapore may save up to 80% on the costs of laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery and hospital stays in the United States. In various locations in Mexico and Costa Rica, international travelers may purchase packages for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery that average between $4,500 to $6,000, including hospital stay, transportation and lab work.
Who Performs Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal?
Laparoscopic surgeries should be performed by a experienced surgeon trained in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Laparoscopic surgeons should be familiar with a variety of procedures utilizing laparoscopic technique and equipment in his or her field of study or specialty. Surgeons who perform laparoscopic surgeries should be board-eligible or certified practicing surgeons, Residents or Fellows in accredited programs including gynecology, urology, and oncology, or are board eligible and certified practicing gynecologists, urologists, or other physicians who engage in and perform laparoscopic procedures.
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