The gallbladder is a small organ underneath the liver that stores bile, or the liquid produced in the liver that helps digest fats.[i] The gallbladder releases the bile into the small intestine to help break down fats so they can be absorbed and used by the body.[ii] While the gallbladder is an important part of the digestive system, sometimes medical complications require removal of the gallbladder.
There are various medical diagnoses, complications and illnesses that subsequently require gallbladder removal.[iii] Cholelithiasis, or gallstones that form when liquid bile solidifies in the gallbladders, is the most common reason for gallbladder removal.[iv] When gallstones block the common bile duct, also known as Choledocholithiasis, the gallbladder is usually removed as well.[v] Biliary Dyskinesia, or abnormal bile trajectory in the gallbladder, is also a reason for gallbladder removal in adults.[vi] Finally, another common reason for gallbladder removal is when the gallbladder becomes irreversibly or chronically inflamed, also known as Cholecystitis.[vii]
Gallbladder removal does not typically call for open surgery. Rather, gallbladder surgery is usually performed laparoscopically with a laparoscope.[viii]
A laparoscope is a small tube, with a lighted camera, that is inserted through the abdominal wall that allows a doctor to view the patient’s organs, including the gallbladder, without using a single large incision as is typical in open surgery.[ix] Laparoscopic surgery only requires several small incisions, qualifying it as a minimally invasive surgery. Thus, laparoscopic surgery is generally the preferred method for gallbladder removal.[x]
Still, despite the minimal incisions, complications can arise. For example, the bile duct can be cut during laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, which is also know as a Bile Duct Injury, causing the bile duct to leak bile into the abdomen or blocking the flow of bile altogether. If there is an error I the clip application, bile can leak into the peritoneal cavity causing a Cystic Duct Stump Leak (CDSL). Finally, if the doctor misidentifies the cystic duct, the bile can be drained and cause a Hepatic Duct Injury. All of these injuries can have lasting, long term effects on your health and recovery after gallbladder removal surgery.
Surgeons can usually prevent surgical injuries by following the standard of care and promptly dealing with issues that arise during surgery. However, if a doctor or surgeon fails to abide by the appropriate standard of care before, during, or after surgery, they may have committed medical malpractice. Doctors guilty of medical malpractice may be responsible to for the damages their neglect caused to your health and quality of life.
If you have been injured due medical negligence in the course of your laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, please contact Michael P. Bonner, Esq. at [email protected] or call us at 305-676-8800 for a free consultation. Mr. Bonner is an attorney with thirty years of experience handling medical malpractice claims for patients and healthcare providers.