Gallbladder Surgery


Gallbladder Surgery

When gallstones cause sudden, persistent pain, there’s a good chance you’ll need gallbladder surgery because they don’t improve with other treatments. Board-certified general surgeon John Bollins, DO, and the experienced team at Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota offer comprehensive care for gallstones and gallbladder inflammation, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery. Don’t wait to seek help for gallbladder symptoms. Call the office in Hibbing, Duluth, or Ely, Minnesota, or use online booking today to get expert gallbladder care.

Gallbladder Surgery Q & A

Why would I need gallbladder surgery?

Your liver produces bile (a fluid that breaks down fats) and stores it in your gallbladder. When you eat fatty foods, bile leaves the gallbladder, enters your small intestine, and digests the fat.  

You may need surgery to remove your gallbladder (cholecystectomy) if you have symptoms caused by gallstones or cholecystitis:



Substances that usually stay dissolved in bile can bind together and form stones. Gallstones cause symptoms when they block the opening of the bile duct, forcing bile to build up inside the gallbladder.



The gallbladder becomes inflamed when bile accumulates. This condition, cholecystitis, damages the gallbladder and can lead to a rupture in the organ’s wall.

What symptoms suggest I may need gallbladder surgery?

Pain is the first sign of gallstones, but you may also have symptoms, such as:

  • Severe pain in your upper right abdomen (usually appearing suddenly)
  • Pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain after eating a high-fat meal
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Pain in your right shoulder
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool

Gallstones may temporarily block the opening, causing pain that goes away in an hour or two. This condition, called biliary colic, should be evaluated at Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota.

Pain lasting several hours or longer is a sign of cholecystitis. You should call the office for an urgent appointment or go to the emergency room if you have constant pain for three or four hours.

What happens during gallbladder surgery?

During a cholecystectomy, the team removes the entire gallbladder. You can still digest fats because bile goes from your liver straight to your small intestine. However, your body needs about one week to adjust. You may have loose stools and cramping during that time after eating a high-fat meal.

What type of gallbladder surgery will I receive?

The team performs laparoscopic and robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Bollins performs minimally invasive surgery with narrow instruments inserted through a few small incisions. He visualizes the gallbladder using a high-definition camera that sends magnified images to a monitor.

During laparoscopy, Dr. Bollins stands beside you, holds the instruments, and manually manipulates them.

If you have robotic-assisted surgery, robotic arms hold the instruments. Dr. Bollins sits at a console and uses finger controls to manipulate the instruments. The advanced robotic technology allows him to perform more precise surgery. 

Call Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota today or book online if you need gallstone surgery.

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