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What is Cholecystotomy?

Cholecystotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat conditions of the gallbladder, most commonly the removal of gallstones or choleliths. It can also be a type of exploratory surgery used to obtain full-thickness tissue samples or cultures of the gallbladder, as well as to assess the overall condition of the ducts within the gallbladder. Cholecystotomy is also used to empty the gallbladder of fluid. Veterinarians typically will not perform cholecystotomy unless it is absolutely necessary because it is an invasive and complex surgical procedure that has a high risk of inciting post-surgical complications.

Cholecystotomy Procedure in Cats

  1. The cat will first be anaesthetized.
  2. A fine-needle aspirate of the bile is first taken before the surgery is performed.
  3. The surgeon will then place stay sutures, which hold the surgical incision open, in two areas of the gallbladder, the fundus and the infundibulum.
  4. The gallbladder will be separated using sterile sponges to make sure no contents from the abdomen contaminate the gallbladder or bile duct.
  5. The gallbladder will be flushed before the tube is inserted.
  6. The surgeon will insert the cholecystotomy tube and drain the inspissated bile from the bile duct or gallbladder.
  7. The gallbladder is then closed in a single layer using absorbable sutures.
  8. The abdomen will be flushed using lukewarm saline solution before the abdominal cavity is closed.
  9. Hospitalization for 24 hours or more is usually required following surgery. During this time, the cat will receive supportive care, including nutritional therapy, pain medications, and other medications as needed.
  10. The tube will be removed within five to ten days.

Efficacy of Cholecystotomy in Cats

The efficacy of the procedure will depend on why the procedure is being performed. Cholecystotomy is usually very effective when it comes to draining inspissated bile, although the development of post-surgical complications is highly likely.

Cholecystotomy Recovery in Cats

Cats who experience gallbladder and bile duct obstruction usually have a good prognosis as long as the condition was diagnosed and treated quickly. However, cats that undergo cholecystotomy may have a more guarded prognosis due to the likelihood of post-surgical complications. Your cat should not be allowed an extensive period of rest and should not engage in excessive activity. You may need to feed your cat a special diet during the recovery period to reduce the likelihood of gallstones recurring. You should never allow your cat to irritate the surgery site. Check the surgery site regularly to ensure no swelling or draining has occurred.

You will need to take your cat back to the vet to have the tube removed within 1ten0 days. The procedure will essentially be repeated to remove the tube. The veterinary surgeon will attempt to correct bile duct trauma, displacement of the tube, or rupture of the closure site if they have occurred.

Cost of Cholecystotomy in Cats

Cholecystotomy in cats is an expensive procedure that costs about $1,200 on average. Costs may be as low as $800 or as high as $3,500 depending on the veterinary practice and other hospitalization or recovery fees.

Cat Cholecystotomy Considerations

Cholecystotomy is a more complex procedure compared to cholecystectomy, and there is a higher chance that gallstones will recur if they are treated with cholecystotomy. There is also a high risk of rupture of the surgical closure. The cholecystotomy tube may also become dislodged following surgery, and blood clots or other obstructions in the bile duct are also common complications.

Cholecystotomy Prevention in Cats

It is difficult to prevent obstruction of the gallbladder. Feeding your cat a complete, commercial diet may help in some cases. Your trusted veterinary professional can provide you with advice on how to prevent gallstones and obstructions based on your cat’s specific needs.