The liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts collectively make up what is known as the hepatobiliary system. At Southwest General Surgery we have extensive experience with operations on these organs. The information below is general and every patient is different. We would be happy to talk about your specific case and discuss the appropriate work-up and treatment of your issue.
Cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) is one of the most common operations done in the United States. A significant portion of the American population has stones in their gallbladder, and many of those people will develop symptoms at some point in their life. There are even some folks who do not have stones but have a poorly functioning gallbladder that causes symptoms. Many times the symptoms of gallbladder problems are pain after eating fatty or greasy food in the right upper abdomen, nausea or even vomiting, and sometimes being awakened from sleep with pain. Even though fatty foods are often blamed, the reality is that anything- even a drink of water- can stimulate the gallbladder and cause pain. When it is suspected that pain is caused by the gallbladder based on history and imaging studies referral to a surgeon is indicated to discuss cholecystectomy.
The overwhelming majority of the gallbladders we remove are done so laparoscopically. This means smaller incisions, faster recovery, and generally the operation can be done on an outpatient basis.
The liver is an important part of the digestive tract. It's purpose is to process, purify, and breakdown many of the things that are absorbed through the GI tract. The liver can be affected by many different tumors/masses, some benign and some malignant. These include adenomas, hepatocellular carcinoma or hepatomas, hemangiomas, focal nodular hyperplasia, cysts of various cause, and metastatic cancers. Not all of these diagnoses require surgery, and location plays a big role on outcomes. We are happy to discuss any of these diagnoses with you and whether it would be something we are able to help with.
Surgery of the liver can be very complex depending on the location of these masses, and if we do not feel that we can offer a superior outcome, we will make sure that we help you find a surgeon that will deliver that outcome. Our number one priority is making sure our patients are well cared for.