Gallbladder Surgery (Cholecystectomy) 

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located under the liver that stores and concentrates bile to help digest fat. Gallbladder disease includes inflammation, infection, or blockage (obstruction) of the gallbladder. The most common blockage is a gallstone. Gallstones are pebble-like and solid and can be as large as a golf ball or as small as a grain of sand. Gallbladder disease is very common, affecting about 10–15% of adults in the U.S.

Symptoms of gallbladder disease may include:Anatomical location for gallbladder

  • Pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen, particularly after eating
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Infection
  • Fever, nausea, and vomiting
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes (jaundice)

Treatment for gallbladder disease may include lifestyle changes and medication. However, when nonsurgical treatments do not ease symptoms, gall bladder removal surgery, or cholecystectomy, may be needed. More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year.

Manual laparoscopic surgery is the most common surgery used to remove a gallbladder. At Emory Johns Creek Hospital, surgeons now also use a new, minimally invasive robotic technique called Single-Siteda Vinci® gallbladder surgery.

Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery

During manual laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon removes the gallbladder and gallstones through several small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon first inflates the abdomen with air or carbon dioxide and then inserts a lighted scope attached to a video camera (laparoscope) into one incision near the belly button. The surgeon then uses a video monitor as a guide while inserting surgical instruments into the other incisions to remove the gallbladder.

Robotic Gallbladder surgery

Incision ComparisonDuring the Single-Siteda Vinci® gallbladder procedure, the surgeon sits at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy, and uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. The system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist, and finger movements in real-time into the more precise movements of the tiny instruments inside the patient.

Unlike traditional laparoscopic surgeries that require three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single one-inch incision in the belly button, through which instruments are placed and the gallbladder is removed. Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for this robotic, single-incision surgery.

Benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include:

  • virtually scarless results
  • minimal pain
  • low blood loss
  • fast recovery
  • a short hospital stay
  • high patient satisfaction

The surgery can be performed in about one hour, with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

Single-Site™ Instrumentation for the da Vinci® Si™ System has CE Mark and is FDA cleared for cholecystectomy. While clinical studies suggest that the da Vinci® Surgical System using Single-Site™ Instrumentation is an effective tool for single-incision cholecystectomy, individual results may vary. Surgery with the System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. © 2012 Intuitive Surgical. All rights reserved. Intuitive, Intuitive Surgical, da Vinci, da Vinci S, da Vinci Si, and EndoWrist are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intuitive Surgical.