What Are Gallbladder Clips?
Gallbladder clips are small devices used to seal the ducts that once connected the gallbladder to the bile ducts during gallbladder removal surgery. The clips prevent bile leakage into the abdomen, which can lead to infections and other complications.
They are usually made of metallic or non-metallic materials, such as titanium, stainless steel, or absorbable polymers. The clips are usually placed on the ducts after removing the gallbladder so they stay in place permanently.
Gallbladder clips have become a standard practice due to their effectiveness in preventing complications. They are also used to mark the location of the ducts during surgery, making it easier for doctors to locate them for future procedures.
Question #1: Do Gallbladder Clips Dissolve On Their Own?
Gallbladder clips can be made of various materials such as titanium, stainless steel, or absorbable polymers. While the clips made of absorbable polymers will dissolve over time and do not need to be removed, titanium or stainless steel ones are designed to stay in place permanently and do not dissolve on their own. This means that if complications arise, the clips may need to be surgically removed.
For this reason, gallbladder clips made of absorbable polymers are usually preferred in cases where the clips are needed for a short time and do not require removal.
Question #2: Can Gallbladder Clips Interfere With Medical Imaging, Such As MRI Or CT Scans?
Patients with gallbladder clips who require medical imaging should inform their medical providers beforehand to ensure appropriate measures are taken. While gallbladder clips may cause minor interference during medical imaging, the degree of interference is usually minimal and does not significantly affect the accuracy of the imaging.
Question #3: Can Gallbladder Clips Migrate Or Come Loose After Surgery?
While it is rare, gallbladder clips may migrate or come loose in some cases, leading to complications such as bile duct obstruction or leakage.
To minimise the risk of clip migration or loosening, surgeons take great care to ensure that the clips are placed securely during the surgery. Patients are also advised to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting in the first two weeks after the procedure to allow their bodies sufficient time to heal.
If in the event the gallbladder clips migrate or come loose, you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, or jaundice which will require immediate medical attention.
Question #4: Do I Need To Avoid Certain Activities If I Have Gallbladder Clips?
In most cases, you do not have to avoid specific activities if you have gallbladder clips.
However, you are advised to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for a period of time (usually at least 2 weeks), as this can put unnecessary strain on the surgical site and increase the risk of complications such as clip migration or loosening.
As the body heals, you can gradually resume normal activities, including light exercise, walking, and household chores.
You should also inform your doctor of any activities you may have planned to engage in, such as contact sports, to ensure that it is safe.
Question #5: Can Gallbladder Clips Cause Allergic Reactions?
Gallbladder clips made of titanium or stainless steel are generally considered safe and do not cause allergic reactions in most patients. However, in rare cases, some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the metal in the clips.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
- Difficulty breathing
To minimise the risk of allergic reactions, inform your doctor before undergoing gallbladder removal surgery if you have a known allergy to metals. In some cases, alternative materials such as absorbable polymers may be used for gallbladder clips to avoid an allergic reaction.
Question #6: Can Gallbladder Clips Affect Digestion Or Other Bodily Functions?
While gallbladder clips do not directly affect digestion or other bodily functions, some patients may experience changes in their digestive system post-surgery. For example, patients may experience diarrhoea, bloating, or difficulty digesting fatty foods.
These symptoms are usually temporary and can be managed with dietary changes or medication prescribed by the doctor.
Question #7: Can Gallbladder Clips Be Felt Or Detected Externally?
Gallbladder clips cannot be felt or detected externally, as they are located inside the body. The clips are placed during surgery and remain in the abdomen to seal the ducts that once connected the gallbladder to the bile ducts.
While you may not be able to feel it, patients may experience symptoms such as pain or discomfort in the initial phase after your operation. However, if you experience symptoms at the surgical site for more than a week, you should inform your doctor immediately.
Question #8: What Are The Signs Of A Problem With Gallbladder Clips That I Should Watch Out For?
The signs of a problem with gallbladder clips may include:
- Abdominal pain: If you experience severe or persistent abdominal pain after gallbladder removal surgery, it may be a sign of a problem with the gallbladder clips.
- Fever: If you develop a fever after surgery, it may be a sign of an infection or other complication related to the gallbladder clips.
- Jaundice: If you develop yellowing of the skin or eyes, it may be a sign of bile duct obstruction or other complications related to the gallbladder clips.
- Difficulty breathing: If you experience difficulty breathing or other respiratory symptoms, it may indicate an allergic reaction to the gallbladder clips.
- Pain or discomfort in the area where the clips were placed: If you experience pain or discomfort in the area where the gallbladder clips were placed, it may be a sign of complications such as clip migration or loosening.
If these symptoms occur after gallbladder removal surgery, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may be recommended for further testing to determine the cause of the symptoms.
G&L Surgical: Gallbladder Removal in Singapore
If you have questions or concerns about gallbladder clips following a cholecystectomy, don’t hesitate to reach out to the G&L team. We are here to provide professional advice on pre-and-post gallbladder surgery care.