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Gallbladder Surgery Specialist

Joshua Ellenhorn, M.D., FACS

Board Certified General Surgeon & Surgical Oncologist located in CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL TOWERS, LOS ANGELES, CA

Your gallbladder is a part of your digestive system, working with your liver to help with digestion. If you need surgery for gallbladder disease or cancer, Joshua Ellenhorn, MD, practicing in Beverly Grove, nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, is a leading expert in surgical oncology who specializes in using minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic techniques to remove the gallbladder. Dr. Ellenhorn provides personalized care for his patients and is a pioneer in the use of advanced treatment approaches for gallbladder disease. Call Dr. Ellenhorn today to find out more, or book an appointment using the online form.

Gallbladder Surgery Q & A

Why would I need gallbladder surgery?

You might need gallbladder surgery if you have symptoms of gallbladder stones.

Your gallbladder is an organ that sits under the liver. Your liver produces bile that helps digest fat in food. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile and secretes it via the bile duct as needed. Bile is rich in minerals and minerals can precipitate in the gallbladder resulting in the development of stones. These stones known as gallstones, can irritate the gallbladder and block the gallbladder, resulting in inflammation and infection.


What symptoms do gallstones cause?

Gallstones can either cause no symptoms at all or can cause severe illness depending on the severity of the inflammation and infection.  When gallstones cause symptoms they can cause any of the following:

  • Pain above your stomach  and in the right upper abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Jaundice
  • Fever


When gallstones cause symptoms, surgery is usually necessary. Fortunately, you can manage without a gallbladder, so removing it is safe and effective.


What happens during gallbladder surgery?

Surgery to remove the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy. Dr. Ellenhorn uses minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic surgery, which causes less tissue damage and promotes faster healing. A laparoscope is an instrument that has a video camera on its end. Dr. Ellenhorn makes a small incision in your abdomen and passes the laparoscope through the incision to your gallbladder.

The camera sends back video images of the surgery site to a monitor in the operating room. Dr. Ellenhorn uses the video to guide instruments that he passes through other small incisions to remove your gallbladder.

In many cases, Dr. Ellenhorn can use state-of-the-art robotic techniques to carry out minimally invasive laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. 


Can gallstones spill out of the gallbladder and cause problems?

The answer is yes.  Gallstones can leak out of the small channel or duct that connects the gallbladder to the main bile duct.  This can result in blockage of the flow of bile from the liver into the intestine resulting in jaundice. Jaundice occurs when bile backs up into the bloodstream causing the skin to turn yellow.

Gallstones that spill out of the gallbladder into the bile duct can cause inflammation or irritation of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.

When gallstones have fallen out of the gallbladder into the main bile duct, they can be cleared using minimally invasive techniques both before and during laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Find out more about the cutting-edge techniques available for gallbladder surgery by calling Joshua Ellenhorn, MD, today or book an appointment online.