Old-school gallbladder surgery promises easy recovery

The buzz word for surgeries now is "laparoscopic," but for one surgeon older methods with a twist are still getting great results. 90 percent of gallbladder surgeries are done laparoscopically, using small incisions and robotics to remove the organ, but Dr. Walter Ledet's, general surgeon at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, methods are a bit more unconventional.

"You cannot compare what we do to the normal gallbladder surgery because what we do is not really normal," said Dr. Ledet.

Unlike laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Ledet performs open surgery with his own tricks to keep patients pain-free and get them back to normal life quickly. He makes small incisions that he says are more anatomically oriented and also uses steroid injections to help muscles heal. Dr. Ledet has performed over 4,000 of these surgeries throughout his 30 year career.

One recent patient is local event planner and caterer Marilyn Dawdy. She was rushed to the emergency room because of an unbearable pain in her abdomen.

"That was quite an anxious time and I was in such darn pain I wanted to shoot somebody," exclaimed Dawdy.

Doctors decided her gallbladder had to be removed right away. Gallbladder surgery is actually the most common major abdominal surgery with over 600,000 done every year, said Dr. Ledet.

Dawdy said she worried that the gallbladder surgery would prevent her from having a knee surgery scheduled for the following week, but Dr. Ledet assured her the recovery time was brief. In fact, Dawdy said she was back home within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital and the next week successfully had her knee surgery.

When asked why he sticks to older methods Dr. Ledet replied, "see I'm old so I have to do the old way."

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