Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery)

A cholecystectomy is a common surgical procedure for extracting the gallbladder and only carries a slight risk of complications. In most cases patient can go home the same day after cholecystectomy.

A cholecystectomy is most commonly performed by inserting a small video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see and remove the gallbladder inside the abdomen. Doctors call this laparoscopic cholecystectomy or key hole surgery.


In certain cases, the gallbladder may be removed with one large incision. This is known as open cholecystectomy.

Why cholecystectomy is performed?

Most specifically, a cholecystectomy is undertaken to treat gallstones and the complications that they cause. If you have any below listed problems in gallbladder than Your doctor recommends cholecystectomy.

  • Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
  • Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Large gallbladder polyps
  • Pancreas inflammation (Pancreatitis) due to gallstones.

How is it performed?

Before Surgery

A cholecystectomy is done using general anesthesia, and during the operation, you will not be conscious of it. Drugs for anesthesia are delivered into a vein in your arm. Your healthcare staff will put a tube down your throat to help you breathe until the medications take effect. The cholecystectomy is then performed by the surgeon using either a laparoscopic or an open procedure.

During Surgery

Your surgeon will prescribe one of two surgical strategies depending on your situation:

  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy or Keyhole Surgery

The surgeon makes four tiny incisions in the abdomen, during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. By one of the incisions a tube with a tiny video camera is inserted into the abdomen. The surgeon uses a video monitor in the operating room by using surgical instruments inserted through your abdomen through the other incisions to remove your gallbladder.

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy isn't ideal for all. For certain cases, your surgeon can start with a laparoscopic approach and find it necessary due to scar tissue from previous procedures or complications to make a larger incision.

  • Open Surgery

The surgeon makes a 6-inch (15 centimetre) incision in your abdomen below your right ribs during an open cholecystectomy. It draws back the muscle and tissue to expose the liver and gallbladder. Afterwards the surgeon removes the gallbladder.

After Surgery (Recovery)

Recovery after surgery depends on procedure opted for treatment:

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
People are sometimes able to go home the same day as their surgery, but a one-night hospital stay is often required. Generally speaking, you can plan to go home until you can eat and drink without discomfort and walk unassisted. It takes about a week to heal fully.

Open cholecystectomy
Normally you will need to stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days following open surgery, and your recovery time will be longer. It can take around 6 to 8 weeks to return to your normal routine.

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