Gallbladder Removal Specialist

Maria Palafox, MD

Breast Cancer Surgeon & General Surgeon located in San Antonio, TX

While removing an organ is never a preferred option, there are times when that organ does more harm than good. Such can be the case with your gallbladder. If you have painful problems, such as persistent gallstones, removal may be your only choice. At Maria Palafox, MD, in San Antonio, Dr. Maria Palafox has extensive experience in gallbladder removal surgeries, often using a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique. If you’re a candidate for gallbladder removal, call or schedule a consultation using the online booking tool.

Gallbladder Removal Q & A

by Maria Palafox, MD

What is the gallbladder?

Your gallbladder is a small organ tucked underneath your liver, which stores bile. Your liver produces bile, which helps your body break down fats, and the extra bile is stored in your gallbladder.

Without a gallbladder, your liver still produces bile, and it still makes its way into your digestive tract, just without storage along the way.


Why do I need to have my gallbladder removed?

While the function of your gallbladder is not essential, the small organ can wreak havoc on your health when problems arise. The most common problem when it comes to the gallbladder is gallstones.

Gallstones are hard substances in your bile that get caught in your gallbladder and range in size from a grain of rice to the size of a small plum. Gallstones can be very painful and cause infections, signaled by fever, vomiting, and bloating.

Gallstones can also move to your common bile duct, which prevents your gallbladder from draining correctly. Other gallbladder problems include:

  • Biliary dyskinesia (your gallbladder doesn’t fill or drain properly)
  • Cholecystitis (an inflammation of your gallbladder)
  • Pancreatitis (an inflammation of your pancreas)

Only after Dr. Palafox conducts a full exam, which may include lab tests and imaging diagnostics, does she determine whether gallbladder removal is necessary.


How is my gallbladder removed?

Dr. Palafox is trained in both general surgery and laparoscopic procedures and always prefers to take the route that’s the least invasive where possible.

In a laparoscopic procedure, Dr. Palafox makes tiny incisions through which she inserts a small camera and specialized instruments to remove the organ. The main benefit of this type of surgery is that Dr. Palafox inflicts only minimal damage to your tissue, making recovery time and scarring minimal.

In open surgery, Dr. Palafox makes a wider incision to have better access to the area. Open surgery is often required if large gallstones are present, making removal of the organ through a larger incision necessary.

At times, Dr. Palafox starts with the intention of removing the gallbladder laparoscopically, but she may find partway through that she needs to resort to open surgery if she finds gallstones that were previously undetected through imaging. It’s because of this that finding a surgeon who’s well versed in both procedures, like Dr. Palafox, is paramount.

If you need to have your gallbladder removed, count on the experience of Maria Palafox, MD. Call or book an appointment online to learn more.