Biliary and Gallbladder Surgery
At Memorial Healthcare System, our surgeons perform all types of surgery for biliary and gallbladder conditions. We coordinate with specialists throughout our healthcare system to get you the proper care, when you need it.
Biliary and Gallbladder Surgery: Why Choose Memorial Healthcare System?
Surgeons at Memorial Healthcare System perform both emergency and planned gallbladder and biliary procedures. Count on us for:
- Less invasive surgery: All our surgeons have extensive training in advanced minimally invasive surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic procedures. Minimally invasive surgery offers better surgical outcomes, faster recovery and lower risk of complications.
- Personalized care: Our surgeons take time to get to know patients and their individual needs before recommending a treatment plan. Patients receive hands-on support from diagnosis to recovery, including ample time to ask questions about conditions and procedures.
- Improved access: We have a large, experienced team of surgeons. When patients need elective surgery, we can see them quickly and schedule surgery promptly.
- Quality care: Our surgeons perform a high number of surgeries, which translates into better surgical skill and improved outcomes for patients.
Types of Biliary and Gallbladder Surgery We Offer
The primary biliary and gallbladder surgeries we perform include the following procedures.
Bile duct surgery
We offer bile duct surgery to fix conditions that affect your bile ducts. Your bile ducts carry bile (fluid that helps with digestion and fat absorption) from your liver and gallbladder to your intestine. Bile also clears waste products out of the liver.
When a bile duct gets blocked it disrupts the body’s ability to digest foods properly, leading to inflammation and pain. We perform surgery to remove common obstructions, including:
- Cysts: These are pockets of tissue with fluid or other substances inside the bile duct.
- Gallstones: These occur when bile fluid hardens and cannot flow out of the gallbladder.
- Inflammation or scarring: This is usually the result of an autoimmune disease called cholangitis, where the body attacks and destroys healthy bile duct cells. Chronic inflammation in the liver (cirrhosis) could also cause bile duct inflammation.
Gallbladder Surgery and Gallbladder Removal
The main role of a gallbladder is to store bile fluid until your body needs it for digestion. It contracts, or squeezes, to release bile into the intestine after you eat. Gallstones are one of the most common reasons that someone needs gallbladder surgery. Other reasons include:
- Inflammation: Viral infections and AIDS can cause gallbladder inflammation. Your surgeon may recommend removing your gallbladder after a serious infection.
- Pancreatitis: Gallstones cause pancreatitis, which is inflammation in your pancreas. Pancreatitis can be acute, coming on suddenly, or it can be chronic and last for many months or years.
- Polyps: These are small growths that form in the lining inside your gallbladder. Most are benign, but your surgeon may recommend removing them to check if they are malignant. If you are at risk for malignant polyps, removing them can reduce those risks.
We perform most gallbladder surgeries laparoscopically, including surgeries to remove the gallbladder. This surgical approach minimizes scarring and helps you recover faster.
Biliary and Gallbladder Condition Symptoms
Biliary and gallbladder conditions can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms. The most common signs of a problem include:
- Dark urine
- Fever or chills
- Jaundice, where the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen, right shoulder or between the shoulder blades
Diagnosing Biliary and Gallbladder Conditions
It’s important to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible if you experience symptoms. For symptoms that come on suddenly, go to an emergency room or urgent care right away. For chronic pain, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor or a surgeon who specializes in these conditions. Your doctor may perform these tests:
- Blood tests: These tests can show evidence of gallbladder or biliary disease with elevated levels of enzymes from the pancreas. Higher-than-normal white blood cell levels can also be a sign of infection.
- Endoscopy tests: Doctors put a small tube down your throat into the stomach or small intestine. They can use the tube to get a better ultrasound image of the gallbladder and biliary ducts. They also use the tube to inject dye visible using an X-ray into the gallbladder, liver or pancreas.
- Hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan: With the HIDA scan, doctors inject radioactive material that travels to the person’s gallbladder. They use imaging to see where the radioactive material travels and whether the gallbladder and biliary system is working.
- Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves that generate images of organs on a screen. Doctors use ultrasound to examine the right upper part of your abdomen to look for signs of gallstones or other issues.
Find an Experienced Surgeon Today
Call 954-276-7874 or search for a provider online to find a surgeon with the right experience in biliary and gallbladder procedures.