At North Orlando Surgical Group, we are proud to have established a unique surgical practice characterized by superior skills and extraordinary services both to the patient we care for as well as their referring physicians. We are recognized in Central Florida for our ability to perform complex procedures in the least invasive way. Our attentive staff is focused on providing the highest level of personal services and are committed to making every patient’s surgical experience as comfortable and convenient as it can be.
Dr. Joan Iacobelli completed her residency training at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. After training, she accepted a position in Alabama where she remained in private practice for 20 years before relocating to Central Florida. She has 22 years of experience in general and vascular surgery as well as thoracic surgery. She joined North Orlando Surgical Group in 2011.
Although well versed in all types of surgery, one of her favorite surgical procedures includes laparoscopic cholecystectomy, also known as gallbladder surgery. She has performed over 1,000 with a conversion rate of less than 1%.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures. The gallbladder is a small sac that sits just under the liver. Bile travels from the liver, down the common bile duct, and is then stored in the gallbladder. When you eat a meal that contains a lot of fat your brain sends a chemical signal, called cholecystokinin or CCK, to the gallbladder telling it to squeeze. This sends the extra bile into the small bowel, where the fat gets broken down for digestion.
Cholelithiasis is the medical term for gallstones. Stones can form when the chemistry of the bile is imbalanced. The stones can block the opening to the gallbladder when it tries to squeeze, which in turn causes pain. If the blockage continues for too long you can then develop cholecystitis or inflammation of the gallbladder.
Symptoms of Cholecystitis May Include:
• Stomach pain that starts suddenly in the right upper quadrant that can radiate through to the back or into the shoulder
• Low-grade fever
Occasionally a gallstone can escape the gallbladder and make its way into the common bile duct. If this happens you could develop jaundice or even pancreatitis. These are serious conditions that can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Another common disease associated with the gallbladder is biliary dyskinesia. Biliary dyskinesia is a disorder of the gallbladder in which the gallbladder does not function properly. If the gallbladder is unable to squeeze and empty well you can have pain, very much like when there is a stone lodged in the opening. If an abdominal ultrasound does not show the presence of stones then a HIDA scan may be ordered to test how well it empties.
A third reason for removing the gallbladder would be if you are found to have a polyp on an ultrasound. Sometimes these polyps are proven to simply be stones that are stuck to the wall of the gallbladder, but sometimes they are small masses, much like you can get in your colon. The only way to know whether these masses are benign is to remove the gallbladder and have the pathologist test it for the presence of cancer.
Since the gallbladder is such a small organ, it makes it easy for cancer to grow undetected. For some, there are even no symptoms that may indicate the presence of gallbladder cancer. When symptoms do occur, patients could experience abdominal pain, bloating, itchiness, and even a fever. Gallbladder removal surgery is a common solution to prevent future growth and spread of cancer.
If you have been told that you have gallstones or biliary dyskinesia it is very important that you avoid fat in your diet until your surgery. Some fatty foods are obvious, such as cheeseburgers or pizza, but other foods can have fat that you may not know about. Common things that can set off gallbladder pain are bananas, avocados, mustard, ketchup, and milk. It is crucial to read your labels carefully and choose foods that are as low fat or non-fat as possible.
Treating Gallstones & Other Gallbladder Disease
The easiest and quickest way to treat Cholelithiasis, a polyp, or biliary dyskinesia is to remove the gallbladder. This is normally done laparoscopically. This is a minimally invasive surgery performed using long thin instruments inserted into the body through small incisions. These small incisions, which are typically less than a half-inch in length, replace the traditional long incision. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy has a few other advantages as well which include less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stay, and a quicker return to normal activity. When being done emergently the risk of the procedure doubles, which puts the patient at risk of needing to be converted to the old-fashioned open procedure. Avoiding fat is the best way to avoid the need for emergency surgery.
Choose North Orlando Surgical Group For Your Gallbladder Surgery – Contact Us Today!
With years of experience, the surgeons of North Orlando Surgical Group performed hundreds of cholecystectomies. The majority of these procedures were done in the laparoscopic fashion. Our surgeons possess the skill, compassion, and training to ensure the best outcomes with the least invasive approaches available. Choose our experts to take care of you! Use the buttons below to contact us today for more information on this procedure or to schedule your consultation appointment. We have two convenient locations in Lake Mary and Orange City, FL to best serve you.