Cholecystectomy is the removal of the gall bladder.
The most common reason for performing a cholecystectomy is to relieve an obstruction of the biliary tract (link to biliary obstruction). Biliary sludge, thickened mucus (mucocele) and stones (choleliths) are the more common reasons for obstruction of the common bile duct that enters into the small intestine. Other causes of biliary obstruction include tumors and pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis).
To perform this procedure, a surgical approach is made to the abdominal cavity. The gall bladder is identified and carefully separated from the surrounding liver tissue. An incision is made into the small intestine and the opening of the common bile duct is identified. A small cannula is passed into the opening of the common bile duct and is flushed with sterile saline to make sure that it is patent (open). Assuming the duct is patent, the gall bladder is tied off at its neck and is removed.
In most patients, a piece of the gall bladder and a piece of liver are submitted for microscopic assessment and for culture of microorganisms.
The most noteworthy complications following this procedure include dehiscence of the intestinal incision, biliary leakage and hemorrhage.
What is the prognosis following this procedure?
The prognosis is generally good following this procedure but is dependent upon the physical condition of the patient prior to surgery.
What does the post-operative care entail?
The medical care post-operatively is variable depending upon the pre-operative condition of these patients. These patients should be limited to brief leash walks for urination and defecation for 3 weeks post-operatively. Because they lack the ability to store bile because the bile reservoir was removed, these patients should be fed a low-fat diet henceforth. The skin staples or sutures should be removed by the regular veterinarian 10-14 days post-operatively.