12 - 24 Hours
The gallbladder has the function to store and concentrate bile produced in the liver. Usually, this digestive liquid is released from the gallbladder after eating, aiding digestion. Since the gallbladder concentrates bile, in some cases the bile can crystallize into gallstones, small stones made of salt and cholesterol. These gallstones may block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder, causing inflammation, sharp abdominal pain, vomiting and, occasionally fever. If the gallstone blocks the common bile duct, jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the skin) or even acute pancreatitis can occur.
There is no effective treatment to dissolve gallstones. For this reason, it is advisable primarily for patients who have had the symptoms, the removal of the gallbladder, which is the source for gallstone formation.
Surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most effective and safe treatment to solve the problem, since it does not seem to affect the digestion process.
Once the patient presents the symptoms, it is necessary for him/her to have blood tests and an ultrasound that can help the surgeon determine the state of the gallbladder and liver.
In the past, incisions of 10 to 12 cm were required. This "standard" open surgery implied significant postoperative pain, a longer hospital stay, and prolonged recovery.
Laparoscopy introduced the concept of visualizing the operative field through a video camera and introducing small instruments the surgeon is able to maneuver from outside the body. In this way, the surgery results in 4 small skin incisions of 7 to 12 mm.
Advances in digital imaging technology and the miniaturization of instruments, allowed the development of this innovative new method which brings significant advantages. The name comes from the fine-caliber instruments that are used, since they have a diameter of 2 to 3 mm and are similar to needles.
The differences of needlescopic surgery, as compared with traditional laparoscopic surgery, lie in a faster recovery and minimal postoperative pain. Since this procedure only requires three small incisions of 2 to 3 mm, patients are able to return to their normal activities a few days after the surgery. Gallbladder removal can be performed using a scar from a previous surgery, in order to achieve the best possible esthetic results. Moreover, patients can return to normal physical activities without risk for complications.
The conditions that need to be met to perform these innovative procedures are related to availability of state-of-the-art imaging technology, adequate equipment, professional training, and a fully equipped center to perform these procedures safely.
This is how today, the level of details imaging technology offers and the availability of small surgical instruments, allow gallbladder surgeries to be performed in more detail, which makes the procedure much safer.
Reduced postoperative pain.
Return to full activity a few days after the surgery.
Faster return to normal physical activity.
Reduced hospital stay.
Improved esthetic results.