What are the risks involved in gallbladder surgery?

There are risks involved in all types of surgery, such as a patient’s response to the general anaesthetic or possible transfer of an infection from outside the body. However, some types of surgery have possible complications that are more specific to that operation. What are the possible complications inherent in a gallbladder removal operation?

Why remove the gallbladder?

You may be unfortunate enough to need your gallbladder removing. Whilst the gallbladder serves the useful function of storing bile to help process food, it is not vital to our survival and gallbladder removal may be the best solution should you have bladder cancer or be experiencing extremely painful gallstones. Gallstones can cause further serious problems such as acute pancreatitis. Hence, gallbladder removal may be the best option.

Gallbladder surgery

Your gallbladder operation will preferably take place with keyhole surgery, where the possible negative impacts of surgery are fewer and recovery time is shorter. However, there may be good reason why your surgeon chooses to use open surgery.

Risks of gallbladder surgery

The most serious risks involved in gallbladder surgery are accidental damage to surrounding tissue or organs which might then cause on-going problems or require further surgery. Another possible complication is the leakage of bile from the bile duct. It should be noted, however, that there is only a small likelihood of these occurrences in gallbladder surgery.

Leakage from the bile duct

Bile is a fluid that is produced by your liver and used to help break down fatty foods as they pass through and are absorbed by your digestive system. The bile duct carries the bile from the gall bladder to the small intestine. During a gallbladder removal operation there is a possibility that bile can escape from the bile duct and flow into the abdominal cavity where it can cause pain, inflammation and infection. If it is not noted at the time, this situation may mean that the patient has to undergo further surgery. It will also increase the chances of infection setting in.

Damage to the bile duct

Occasionally, the bile duct itself is damaged during gallbladder surgery. This may be due to medical negligence. Ideally, any such damage needs to be repaired at the time of the occurrence to avoid on-going leakage of bile which can, if left untreated, lead to peritonitis and septic shock. If damage to the bile duct is not noticed or treated during the initial surgery, subsequent surgery is likely to be necessary. This then exposes the patient again to all the possible risks of any surgery.

Oher Accidental Damage Caused by Surgery

Because of the location of the gallbladder, it is also possible that damage might be caused to other closely-located organs, such as the liver, bowel or intestines. This is a much rarer occurrence – about 1 in 1000 operations as opposed to 1 in 500 for bile duct damage – that would also likely require further surgery to repair. Should unplanned organ damage occur, it is again vital that it is treated promptly. Depending on the location and nature of the damage, the effects could be devastating and life-threatening.

Medical Negligence

If you believe that you have experienced significant negative impacts following problems with your gallbladder surgery that might be attributable to medical negligence, contact us at Glynns Solicitors to discuss your case.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

Free enquiry

Share Article With:

delicious digg facebook reddit twitter stumble upon