This marks the first in an occasional series that examines the organs that failed some of the world's most interesting people -- let's begin with Andy Warhol's gallbladder! Warhol died in 1987 following gallbladder surgery, but his gall was giving him grief long before surgery. He had recurring gallbladder problems that he didn't keep up with allegedly because of fears about doctors and hospitals. The gallbladder is one of two organs humans can do without (the spleen is the other) and about a half-million Americans had their gallbladders removed last year alone. Nowadays, it's generally done laproscopically, and is quite routine, but things can definitely go wrong. When his gallbladder became infected, a sonogram showed it had become enlarged and a routine surgery to remove the pesky organ was underway. Complications following surgery led to his death at age 58. What a bummer!
You can count on us to keep current with the newest in gallbladder removal techniques; we are, after all, crazy about gallbladders! The newest approach to gallbladder removal uses a robot to cut a tiny cut (2.5 cm) in the bellybutton. It only takes a few hours to recover enough to go back to work (both a good and bad thing, we guess). For those of you who aren't squeamish, here is a great photo of a gallbladder being removed through the belly button! Happy cholecystectomies!