Could Robotic Gallbladder Surgery Be Right for You?

If you experience pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen, you might think it’s a gas pain because you feel especially full, or maybe it’s bad indigestion because you also feel nauseous and are vomiting. These are all symptoms of a problem with the gallbladder. If the pain and/or nausea isn’t enough to send you to your doctor or the emergency room, symptoms such as fever, clay-colored stool, or yellowing of skin and whites of eyes (jaundice) should be assessed by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Gallbladder disease is very common, affecting about 10-15% of adults. Treatment for gallbladder disease may include lifestyle changes and medication. However, if your symptoms worsen, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your gallbladder.

Fortunately, your gallbladder is an organ that you can live without. 

The surgery to remove the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy. This surgery can be performed using open surgery through one large incision or through minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy). 

Minimally invasive surgery can be done either through a few small incisions in your abdomen or one incision in your belly button. In laparoscopic procedures, surgeons use long-handled instruments to reach your gallbladder. One of the instruments is a tiny camera that takes images inside your body and sends them to a video monitor to guide surgeons as they operate.

Cholecystectomy through the belly button can be done using traditional single- incision laparoscopy or da Vinci® Single-Site® Surgery. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and flexible instruments. These features enable your doctor to operate with enhanced vision and precision.

It is important to discuss all treatment and surgical options with your doctor, as well as the risks and benefits of each. If your doctor believes you are a candidate for da Vinci Single-Site Surgery, your doctor removes your gallbladder using state-of-the-art precision instruments. With da Vinci, surgery is performed through one incision in the belly button, which dramatically limits visible scarring.

As a result of da Vinci technology, da Vinci Single-Site Cholecystectomy offers the following potential benefits compared to traditional laparoscopy:

  • Low rate of major complications
  • Low conversion rate to open surgery
  • Virtually scarless surgery
  • High patient satisfaction
  • Minimal pain

Though it is often called a robot, da Vinci cannot act on its own. Surgery is performed entirely by your doctor. This state-of-the-art technology must be operated by an experienced and specially trained surgeon like Dr. Tsuda.

If you need gallbladder surgery, contact VIPSurg to see if you are a candidate for this type of procedure. Da Vinci surgery lets you get back to normal life much more quickly than you could with traditional open and even laparoscopic surgeries.

3d illustration of Human body Gallbladder anatomy

Gallbladder Disease and Symptoms

Unless they’re experiencing bothersome symptoms associated with gallbladder disease, most people don’t give much thought to their gallbladder. However, when there is an issue, it can be quite painful and require immediate action.

The gallbladder is a 4-inch-long organ found under the liver in the upper right area of the abdomen. It stores bile, a compound produced by the liver to digest fat, and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Unfortunately, when the gallbladder stops working properly or the bile ducts are blocked, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

Some common gallbladder problems include:

  • Gallstones – solid masses of cholesterol. Gallstones occur when high levels of fat and bile cause crystals to form. Over time, these crystals may combine and expand into stones.
  • Inflamed gallbladder, cholecystitis – Acute or sudden cholecystitis occurs when bile can’t leave the gallbladder. This commonly happens when a gallstone blocks the bile duct. Chronic cholecystitis occurs if there are recurrent acute attacks.
  • Perforated gallbladder – If left untreated, gallstones can lead to a perforated gallbladder – in other words, a hole in the wall of the organ can develop. Perforation also occurs as a complication of acute cholecystitis.
  • Porcelain (calcified) gallbladder – a condition where, over time, the muscular walls of the gallbladder develop a buildup of calcium. This makes them stiff, limiting the gallbladder’s function and increasing the risk of gallbladder cancer. With this condition, the organ becomes bluish and brittle.

Symptoms of gallbladder problems include:

  • Pain in the mid- or upper-right section of the abdomen: Gallbladder pain usually comes and goes. Gallbladder pain is often severe and can cause pain in the chest and back as well.
  • Nausea or vomiting: Any gallbladder problem may cause nausea or vomiting.
  • Fever or shaking chill: These are signs of infection in the body. Along with other gallbladder symptoms, fever and chills may point to a gallbladder problem or infection.
  • Changes in bowel movements: Frequent, unexplained diarrhea can signal a chronic gallbladder disease. Light-colored or chalky stools may point to a problem with the bile ducts.
  • Changes in urine: Dark urine may indicate a bile duct block.
  • Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin occurs when liver bile does not successfully reach the intestines. This normally happens due to a problem with the liver or due to a blockage in the bile ducts caused by gallstones.

If you’ve been diagnosed with gallbladder disease in the Las Vegas area or are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda is the area’s foremost robotic surgeon specializing in gallbladder, weight-loss/bariatric, and other areas of general surgery. Call for an appointment at (702) 487-6000.The Photo Of Liver On Woman's Body Against Gray Background, Hepatitis, Concept with Healthcare And Medicine

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with less trauma to the patient than is possible with conventional techniques. Da Vinci robotic surgery enables your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, and control.

Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. The technique has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

Da Vinci Robotic Surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive is often preferable to operating on patients through large incisions. 

During robotic surgery, miniaturized surgical instruments are inserted through a series davinci1of quarter-inch incisions. The surgeon controls these instruments and a camera from a console located in the operating room. The surgeon operates the special “wristed” robotic arms while looking through a stereoscopic high-definition monitor that allows him or her to see inside the patient, giving a better, more detailed 3-D view of the operating site than the human eye can provide. 

Every movement the doctor makes with the master controls is replicated precisely by the robot. When necessary, the surgeon can even change the scale of the robot’s movements. Because of the console’s design, the surgeon’s eyes and hands are always perfectly aligned with his view of the surgical site, minimizing surgeon fatigue.  

Since procedures can now be performed through very small incisions, patients experience several benefits compared to open surgery, including:

  • Less trauma on the body
  • Minimal scarring
  • Faster recovery time
  • Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection

The da Vinci System represents the latest in surgical and robotics technologies. Your surgeon is 100% in control of the da Vinci System always. Da Vinci technology translates your surgeon’s hand movements into the smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. 

At VIPSurg, our doctors specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques including the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, foregut surgery, ventral and inguinal hernia repairs, endoscopy, and basic laparoscopy, using the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System whenever it benefits our patients. Call for an appointment to see how we can help with your surgical needs.