Gallbladder Surgery

Earl McAllister, MD, FACS

Board Certified General Surgeon located in Tampa, FL

Gallbladder disease develops over time before you finally experience sudden, severe pain in the upper right side of your abdomen. By that time, surgery may be the first line of treatment to relieve your symptoms and prevent complications. Earl McAllister, MD, FACS, has years of experience helping patients recover their health by performing minimally invasive gallbladder surgery. To get expert advice and learn which approach is best for your gallbladder problem, call Florida Medical Clinic in Tampa, Florida, or book an appointment online.

Gallbladder Surgery Q & A

What conditions may require gallbladder surgery?

Your gallbladder stores bile until it’s needed to digest fats, then it releases the bile into a small duct that empties into the small intestine. Gallbladder problems that may require surgery include:


Cholecystitis occurs when the gallbladder becomes inflamed, a condition that develops when the bile duct is blocked and bile backs up. Although the blockage is usually due to gallstones, it may be caused by other problems such as a twisted tube or a tumor.


Gallstones develop when your bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, and the excess substance accumulates and forms hard pieces. When the stones get large enough to block the bile ducts, they cause inflammation, infection, and a painful gallbladder attack. After one painful attack, you have a 38-50% chance of a recurring episode.

Gallbladder cancer

Gallbladder cancer is a rare cancer that’s often not diagnosed until it has grown large enough to cause symptoms. Cancer is always treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder and may include chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

What symptoms develop due to gallbladder disease?

Gallbladder diseases cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the upper right or center abdomen
  • Pain in the right shoulder or between your shoulder blades
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)

You’re most likely to have a gallbladder attack after eating a meal, especially one that was high in fats.

How are gallbladder diseases treated?

Gallstones and cholecystitis may initially be treated with conservative options, but by the time you experience a painful attack, surgery is frequently recommended. Dr. McAllister specializes in two types of abdominal surgeries:


During a cholecystectomy, Dr. McAllister removes the entire gallbladder along with any gallstones, so it’s an effective procedure for all three conditions: cholecystitis, gallstones, or gallbladder cancer. In fact, it’s the preferred procedure because your gallbladder can be removed without causing health problems. Bile is simply redirected from the liver (where it’s produced) to the small intestine.

Dr. McAllister performs most gallbladder removal procedures using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, which uses narrow instruments inserted through several small incisions rather than one large incision.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP is done with a flexible endoscope inserted through your mouth and stomach, then into the small intestine. It’s used to examine the bile duct, diagnose problems, and perform surgery. With ERCP, Dr. McAllister can remove gallstones while keeping your gallbladder intact.

If you develop gallbladder disease, you can depend on Dr. McAllister’s skilled surgical technique. To learn about your treatment options, call Florida Medical Clinic or book an appointment online.