Signs You Need Your Gallbladder Removed

Abdominal pain can sometimes be nonspecific or confusing, and the cause can be elusive. The gallbladder is an integral part of the body but, when it stops working the way it should, the symptoms can stop you in your tracks. You may not know it’s your gallbladder causing the issues you’re experiencing. The Surgery Group of Los Angeles can help you understand what your symptoms mean and if you need gallbladder surgery.

What Is the Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is an organ located in the right upper part of the abdomen and underneath the liver. The liver produces bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder until it’s needed for digestion. Then the bile is sent to the small intestine to break down fats.

Common Conditions of the Gallbladder


Gallstones are one of the most common conditions of the gallbladder. They form when bile and cholesterol harden and turn into small, stone-like pieces. These stones can cause a variety of problems, from blocking the bile duct to a bowel obstruction (extremely rare).

Gallbladder surgery

Biliary Colic

This is when your gallstone blocks your bile duct. The obstruction and pressure cause pain in your abdomen. Often, an attack can resolve on its own. However, if you don’t pass the stone, you’ll need surgical intervention. Most people who suffer from this condition recover within a few hours. Attacks can recur but tend to be infrequent.

Gallbladder Inflammation

A variety of things cause gallbladder inflammation, but common causes are infections, tumors, gallstones, and heavy alcohol use. It can last hours or days, and it can present with a fever. When this irritation occurs, it means that bacteria has infected the gallbladder. It’s possible to suffer from a ruptured gallbladder when this condition occurs, although it is rare.

If you think you’re suffering from this condition, you should seek medical attention, as it can be serious.

Chronic Gallbladder Disease and Dysfunction

The other gallbladder conditions discussed are acute, but some conditions can be ongoing. Gallstones can scar the gallbladder, and repeated irritation can make it become stiff. Some of the symptoms include chronic diarrhea, which generally occurs after meals, indigestion, fullness of the abdomen, and more flatulence than usual.

Signs Your Gallbladder May Need to Be Removed

Sometimes, when serious issues arise with your gallbladder, you may need to have it surgically removed. If your gallstones cause a gallbladder attack (blockage), infection, or disease, then you may need surgery.

Symptoms Needing Medical Attention

Many gallbladder conditions share similar symptoms. If you experience pain in the right mid to upper abdominal area, or pain that radiates to the back or chest, this can indicate an issue. The pain could be mild and infrequent or severe and persistent. Nausea and vomiting can present in all types of gallbladder disease, too.

Other things to watch out for are chronic diarrhea, fever, chills, jaundice (yellowish skin), dark urine, or lighter than usual bowel movements. All of these are indications that something may be wrong with your gallbladder and that you should see your physician.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Types of Surgeries

Open Surgery

Open surgery is a large incision, about five to seven inches long, to remove your gallbladder. Open surgery may be indicated if you are obese, in the last trimester of pregnancy, or have a bleeding disorder. Some gallbladder disorders also require open procedures, such as multiple blockages or when the gallstones have moved to the common bile duct in the liver.

Laparoscopic Surgery

A laparoscopic procedure is less invasive than an open procedure. The surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. A camera is inserted into one of the incisions to be the surgeon’s “eyes” so he or she can manipulate the instruments during the procedure. Some advantages of the laparoscopic procedure over an open procedure are: less pain, shorter recovery time, and your abdominal muscles are not cut.

Seek Consultation

Your gallbladder helps you when it’s working well, but, if it becomes dysfunctional, it can hurt you. If you have a gallbladder problem or if you suspect you have one, surgical specialists can help give you a permanent resolution. Call The Surgery Group of LA for a consultation: (310) 289-1518.