What Is Gallbladder Surgery Used For?

During this surgical procedure, your doctor removes your gallbladder. “A cholecystectomy is most commonly performed to treat gallstones and the complications they cause.” (1)

This pear-shaped organ is located right below your liver on the upper righthand side of your abdomen. “Your gallbladder collects and stores bile — a digestive fluid produced in your liver.” (2)

Your doctor may advise you to have a cholecystectomy if you have: (3)

  • Gallstones in your gallbladder (cholelithiasis).
  • Gallstones in your bile duct (choledocholithiasis).
  • Inflammation of your gallbladder (cholecystitis).
  • Large polyps in your gallbladder.
  • Inflammation of your pancreas due to gallstones.

Surgery Due to Gallstones

When your gallbladder isn’t working how it is supposed to, hard fragments called gallstones can form. These gallstones “can be as small as a grain of rice or as big as a golf ball.” (4)

Gallstones don’t dissolve or go away on their own. If you experience pain or other troubling symptoms, you may have no choice but to have your gallbladder removed. Approximately 80% of people who develop gallstones need surgery. (5)

Gallbladder Surgery Complications

Gallbladder removal surgery “is one of the most commonly performed operations in the United States, yet it still carries up to a 6% risk of major morbidity.” (6)

Possible complications include: (7)

  • Bile leak.
  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Injury to nearby structures, such as the bile duct, liver, and small intestine.
  • Risks coming with use of general anesthesia, such as blood clots and pneumonia.

If you are experiencing serious complications from your gallbladder removal surgery, you may be eligible for compensation.

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How Gallbladder Surgery Works

Many gallbladder surgeries are laparoscopic and take one to two hours. Your surgeon makes a few small incisions in your abdomen. The procedure involves inserting thin, hollow tubes through those incisions. Your surgical team uses a laparoscope and inserts other surgical tools through the tubes. (8)

Your medical team may also pump carbon dioxide into your abdomen to inflate the surgical area so they can see your insides better. Then, your surgical team uses surgical tools to detach your gallbladder and remove it. Last, your team closes the incisions. (9)

Gallbladder Surgery Risks

During this procedure, mistakes are possible. Whenever incisions are made and cutting tools are used, you risk having something get cut accidentally.

“Most bile duct injuries that occur during gallbladder surgery happen because the area around the gallbladder and bile ducts is masked in some way,” making it difficult for your surgeon to see the area clearly. (10)

Injury Symptoms from Gallbladder Removal Errors

The first sign something might be wrong is if you don’t recover from surgery quickly. You could experience these symptoms of injury: (11)

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain and swelling.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Jaundice.

Some patients don’t experience symptoms right after surgery. You may develop symptoms several weeks or months after the injury occurred. (12)

Surgical Errors Put You at Risk

Surgical errors can lead to dangerous complications. For example, bile duct injuries can lead to serious postoperative medical problems. Some complications can severely reduce your long-term, overall quality of life. In worst-case scenarios, you can die from your injuries. (13)

Some injuries are spotted right away and treated. In other cases, injuries are misdiagnosed and patients receive inappropriate treatment. “The choice and timing of the appropriate reconstructive strategy have a critical role” in your long-term prognosis. (14)

Gallbladder Surgery Malpractice Statistics

Researchers reviewed a legal database to find out how many medical malpractice lawsuits for gallbladder surgery were filed in a 13-year period. They examined 46 cases. A total of 39 went to trial. Of the 46 cases, 20 were decided in favor of the plaintiff. (15)

Most gallbladder surgery malpractice claims allege problematic intraoperative visualization. These cases are also “the most likely to end in physician loss.” (16)

Intraoperative care was the type of malpractice claimed in 67% of the lawsuits. “Problematic visualization of the surgical field was the most frequent intraoperative allegation” in almost 68% of the cases. (17)

In cases involving problematic visualization, nearly 67% of plaintiffs secured a victory at trial. Close to 10% of the plaintiffs obtained a settlement out of court. (18)

“Bile duct injuries remain the most frequent patient injury leading to cholecystectomy litigation.” These “accounted for 43.5% of the injuries.” The plaintiff victory rate was 60%. (19)

When Are Gallbladder Surgery Errors Considered Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can happen when a medical professional does not practice the standard level of professional care. It means someone on your medical team made a mistake and was negligent with your care.

A lack of reasonable care may be considered malpractice. This includes if a surgeon fails to take the time to perform a procedure properly. Or if the surgeon fails to respond to a problem caused by the surgery,

Most malpractice claims from gallbladder surgery occur when a surgeon doesn’t know where the biliary ducts are on a patient and cuts them by accident.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need an attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve.

Were you severely harmed due to a botched gallbladder surgery? Please contact us today.

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How W & L Can Help

If you or a loved one was severely harmed due to a botched gallbladder surgery in the state of New York, Weitz & Luxenberg can help you. Our firm has been handling personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases for over 30 years.

Most importantly, we have a history of winning. Here are just a few examples of our medical malpractice case successes:

  • $2.2 million settlement – A woman in her 30s underwent a tonsillectomy. Shortly afterwards, she died from a surgical wound rupture. Hospital personnel failed to diagnose her basic symptoms of tonsillectomy complications.
  • $1.2 million settlement – Our client died from a pulmonary embolism following her tummy tuck at an outpatient facility. Her surgeon used a defective piece of equipment. It failed to safeguard the woman’s health against deep vein thrombosis and blood clots.
  • $500,000 – A young woman’s uterus was irreparably damaged due to multiple misdiagnoses and botched surgical procedures. She developed a basic uterine infection. Our client could have been treated appropriately if she was diagnosed correctly from the beginning.