About the Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ under the liver that stores and concentrates bile to help digest fat. Disease of the gallbladder includes inflammation, infection, and blockage (obstruction). The most common blockage is called a gallstone.

Symptoms and Diagnosing

Signs of gallstones include:

  • Abdomen pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Imaging tests to diagnose gallbladder problems include:

  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Cholescintigraphy

Treatment and Surgical Options

Treatment for gallbladder disease may include lifestyle changes, medication, and medical procedures. Depending upon the severity of symptoms, surgery may be needed. This operation is known as a cholecystectomy.

Gallbladder surgery is generally performed minimally invasively using manual laparoscopy. The technique involves several small incisions in the abdomen to access the gallbladder. This approach is intended to speed recovery, minimize pain, reduce blood loss and reduce other complications, with the added benefit of reduced scarring.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

If you choose robotic surgery for your gallbladder, your surgeon is able to perform a virtually scarless procedure. One tiny incision is made in the navel (belly button), which dramatically minimizes visible scarring. The da VinciĀ® Surgical System provides your surgeon with enhanced vision, precision and dexterity.

Benefits include:

  • Precise removal of cancerous tissue
  • Low rate of complications
  • Low blood loss
  • Minimal need for chemoradiation therapy
  • Short hospital stay
  • No visible scarring or disfigurement


Ask your doctor or medical team for additional educational and support resources in your area.