Procedure, Risks & Recovery of Gallbladder Cancer Surgery
Submitted by Nic on October 16, 2012
There are two types of gallbladder cancer surgery - curative surgery and palliative surgery. Curative surgery for gallbladder cancer is an option when the surgeon is confident that the affected sections of the organ can be safely removed.
Cancer of this type is known as respectable cancer. When the cancer has spread too far and it is referred to as unresectable. In such cases, palliative surgery may be recommended as a way to control symptoms such as pain or to prevent further complications. Palliative surgery is not expected to cure the cancer but it may help in prolonging the life expectancy of the patient.
Gallbladder cancer surgery procedures may include:
- Open cholecystectomy - Parts of the gallbladder are removed through a large incision in the wall of the abdomen.
- Extended (radical) cholecystectomy - This is an extensive procedure where large parts of the gallbladder are removed. The removal could extend to parts of the liver as well as lymph nodes in the region.
- Wedge resection or hepatic lobectomy of the liver in cases where the cancer has spread to larger areas of the liver.
- In severe cases, it may be necessary to remove the pancreas, duodenum, parts of the stomach and bowel or the bile ducts as well.
- Palliative surgery that involves a biliary bypass or the insertion of a stent or catheter in the gallbladder.
There are a number of risks associated with gallbladder cancer surgery.
These depend on how much of the gallbladder was removed during the surgery and how far the cancer has spread and can include:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Infections such as pneumonia
- Complications that arise from the use of anesthesia
- Chronic pain
- Difficulties with eating after the surgery
- Injury to the common bile duct
To improve your prognosis and speed of recovery after gallbladder cancer surgery, you should:
- Rest according to your doctor’s recommendations. If complete bed rest is required, it is important to follow instructions to the t. In most cases, a few days after surgery are spent at the hospital to ensure that there is no infection or bleeding problems or other complications.
- If you do experience symptoms such as pain at the incision site, drainage from the incision, redness and inflammation, or a fever, contact your doctor immediately as these are all signs of a post-operative infection.
- After gallbladder surgery, there is a tendency for fluid to collect in the lungs and pneumonia to develop. Take deep breaths often to open up the lungs and prevent this from happening.
- Move around as soon as your doctor allows you to. This improves circulation and prevents blood clot from forming.
- Drink eight to ten glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration and improve the digestive process.
- Avoid lifting any heavy objects and performing any strenuous activity or exercise for a week or two after the surgery.
- Monitor your diet and follow all dietary suggestions made by your doctor. This is essential as gallbladder surgery can cause digestive problems such as intestinal blockages, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea.
More articles from the Health Articles Category
- Hepatogastroenterology. 1999 May-Jun;46(27):1533-9. The epidemiology of gallbladder cancer: lifestyle related risk factors and limited surgical possibilities for prevention.
- Moerman CJ, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB. Department of Women's Health Studies, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.