What is a Cholecystectomy?
Cholecystectomy or surgical removal of the gallbladder was previously a ‘general surgical’ operation that the majority of general surgeons would offer. Nowadays, however, its considered a specialist procedure because in some cases it can be a challenging and difficult procedure.
How do you choose a gallbladder surgeon?
When choosing a gallbladder surgeon make sure that they; have the following skill sets:
- Perform the procedure on a regular basis – i.e more than around 50 cases per year
- Are skilled enough to offer emergency procedures; as usually only the most comfortable surgeons will cholecystectomy will offer emergency procedures
- Offer intra-operative cholangiography (this is X-ray test which can be performed at the time of surgery to check either anatomy or whether any common bile duct stones are present); again only the most expert of gallbladder surgeons will offer this procedure. Some offer this test routinely, others selectively.
- Have access to a team of specialists to help in case of difficulty, for example radiologist (X-ray / CT / MRI specilist) or ‘ERCP’ specialist – ERCP is a special technique to remove gallstones from the common bile duct.
Mr Griffiths has all these skills and is comfortable performing elective and emergency cholecystectomy. He can also perform intra-operative cholangiography and can use his specialist skills to surgically remove common bile duct stones (in certain cases) using keyhole methods.
Mr Griffiths performs cholecystectomy on a regular basis (60-80 cases per year) and has performed nearly 800 cholecystectomies in his career. It’s worth noting that he has never injured the common bile duct, and has a very low conversion rate to open surgery.
Mr Griffiths also lead a large study from the ‘West Midlands Surgical Research Collaborative’ on UK variation and outcomes of cholecystectomy called the ‘CholeS study’ which lead to multiple publications in Surgical Journals, including the British Journal of Surgery, World Journal of Surgery, HPB, BMJ open and Surgical Endoscopy. He was invited to speak at the Association of Upper GI Surgeons conference in Cork, Ireland in 2017 on this fascinating subject.