Injuries From Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery. The lawyers and attorneys at our firm are offering free consultations to individuals injured by botched laparoscopic gallbladder surgery (also called laparoscopic cholecystectomy). Since it was first introduced in 1989, this surgery has become the most common method of removing a diseased gallbladder. Unfortunately, if laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is not performed correctly, patients can sustain serious and even life-threatening injuries. If you or someone you know suffered an injury as a result of this procedure, please contact right away to protect your legal rights.
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery gained favor over the traditional, open procedure because, for most patients, recovery time is much shorter. People generally go home the same day or within 1 day, compared with 2 to 4 days or longer for open surgery. Today, this procedure is performed on 750,000 patients annually.
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery requires a skillful surgeon. But because the procedure has become so popular, it is often performed by inexperienced doctors. As our lawyers know too well, this scenario can result in mistakes that leave patients with painful and debilitating injuries.
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery removes the gallbladder through several small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon inflates the abdomen with air or carbon dioxide in order to see clearly, and a lighted scope attached to a video camera – the laparoscope – is inserted into one incision near the belly button. The surgeon then uses a video monitor as a guide while inserting surgical instruments into the other incisions to remove your gallbladder.
In performing laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, a surgeon must use tiny instruments to cut and clip the ducts and arteries attached to the gallbladder and to remove the gallbladder from the body. The surgeon must properly identify each duct with the television camera and be sure he or she is cutting and clipping the proper one. Mistakenly cutting, clipping or nicking the common bile duct rather than the cystic duct can cause serious injuries, as can nicking or cutting adjacent organs.
According to a 2007 article in Newsweek, in the 1990s, laparoscopic gallbladder surgery arrived like a thunderbolt, Surgeons quickly adopted it as the standard of care for gallbladder infections, practicing on pigs at weekend workshops and then quickly moving on to human patients who lined up for it. Patients often assumed – and were sometimes led to believe that the procedure carried fewer risks than the old open procedure.
Unfortunately, as victims represented by our laparoscopic gallbladder surgery injury lawyers now, this is not the case. Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery actually carries new risks, some more severe and more common than those of the old open procedure. Our laparoscopic gallbladder injury lawyers have represented many people who sustained serious injuries as a result of this procedure.
Most laparoscopic gallbladder surgery injuries are caused by inexperienced surgeons. According to the National Institutes of Health, laparoscopic gallbladder surgery injuries are more likely to occur when a surgeon has performed fewer than 25 procedures. The best way for a patient to protect themselves from a devastating laparoscopic gallbladder surgery injury is to find a surgeon with a great deal of experience. There is nothing wrong with asking a doctor how many procedures he or she has performed.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery Bile Duct Injuries
The most common error that occurs during laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is cutting of the common bile duct. This error occurs in 1 out of every 200 procedures, which means about 4,000 patients are injured in this way each year. And even that high number may be underreported. One surgeon interviewed by Newsweek said that at conferences, he heard of more dire outcomes from laparoscopic gallbladder removal than the statistics suggest.
Cutting or nicking the common bile duct may cause bile to back up into the bloodstream causing jaundice, or it may leak out into the abdominal cavity. Corrective surgery might be necessary to fix strictures or narrowing of the duct. Even then, a patient may suffer permanent pain and/or digestive problems. When bile cannot flow through to the intestines, raised liver enzymes, jaundice and severe pain can result.
Patients who have sustained a damaged common bile duct might also suffer from cholangitis, an infection or inflammation of the bile ducts. Cholangitis causes bacteria and other waste products in the small intestine to flow upward causing infection. Cholangitis can be life threatening if not treated.
In most cases, when an injury is caused by laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, the surgeon responsible also does the repair. This is said to be preferable because the surgeon knows their patient best but according to the Newsweek article, the patient’s risk of death is 11 percent higher than when the corrective surgery is performed by another doctor.
Unfortunately, because laparoscopic gallbladder surgery patients are usually sent home within hours of their procedure, complications might not be detected until they have caused significant damage. With a bile duct injury, a patient might only feel mildly ill at first. But eventually, bile leakage will cause pain and breathing difficulties. If bile peritonitis (bile leaking into the abdominal cavity) and/or infection occurs, it can lead to organ failure and even death
Legal Help for Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery?
If you or a loved one sustained a serious injury as a result of botched laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800 YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case with one of the experienced laparoscopic gallbladder surgery injury lawyers at our firm.