Open Gallbladder Removal Surgical Procedure

Open Gallbladder Removal Surgery at Southlake General Surgery, Texas

Our doctor performs open gallbladder removal surgery at Southlake General Surgery, Texas, through a large and single open incision in the abdomen. In medical terms, it is also known as an open cholecystectomy. This procedure is recommended to provide lasting relief to a patient with gallstones and other gallbladder-related problems.

Let’s understand more about the gallbladder: It is a small, pear-shaped organ underneath the liver. The liver produces bile, and the gallbladder stores the bile, which further moves to the small intestine, which helps break down and absorb fats. When the liver produces excess bile that it stores in the gallbladder, it gets released with food and fat to be digested.

An individual can easily digest food without a gallbladder. Bile will keep moving to the small intestine; however, bile will no longer get stored in the gallbladder.

According to senior laparoscopic general surgeon Dr. Valeria Simone MD at Southlake General Surgery, Texas, surgical procedures such as laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery or laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common general surgery procedure to remove the gallbladder.

In addition, surgeons use open gallbladder removal surgery to treat individuals with anatomical issues or scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries.

What are the reasons for open gallbladder removal surgical procedures?

In our body, the gallbladder isn’t considered to be the most effective organ. Bile can be thick and cause blockages along the route where it normally purges. The gallbladder is additionally inclined to create gallstones in many individuals.

Gallstones can get stuck in the gallbladder and biliary ducts. They form from the hardened remains of digestive fluid. Gallstones range in size from tiny grains of sand to big golf balls. Inflammation of the gallbladder, either acute or chronic, caused by gallstones and, in rare instances, an associated infection, can cause:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • change in urine color, a dark urine
  • bloating
  • pain in the stomach

Your surgeon will recommend gallbladder surgery if gallstones have symptoms like significant pain and other complications. Other factors can lead to gallbladder removal, such as:

  • Biliary dyskinesia. This happens when the gallbladder doesn’t discharge bile properly because of a problem in its motion.
  • Choledocholithiasis. This condition happens when gallstones move to the common bile duct and develop blockage that stops the gallbladder and the rest of the biliary function from draining.
  • Cholecystitis. This condition refers to gallbladder inflammation.
  • Pancreatitis. This is pancreatic inflammation because of gallstones.

What are the risks of open gallbladder removal surgical procedures?

The open gallbladder removal surgical procedure is considered the safest surgical procedure and has exceedingly rare post-surgery complications. Besides, every surgical procedure has its risks. Open gallbladder surgery risks include:

The risks of open gallbladder removal include:

  • Anesthesia and other medicines cause reactions such as allergies
  • Blood clots
  • excess bleeding during surgery
  • injury to blood vessels, bile ducts, or small intestine
  • heart problems like cardiac arrest or rapid heart rate
  • pancreatitis

These risks are extremely rare in this surgery and your surgeon will brief you on the risks before your surgical procedure.

How do I prepare for an open gallbladder removal surgical procedure?

Your doctor will prescribe several tests before the surgery to determine if you are healthy for the surgery. These tests will include blood tests, imaging tests of the gallbladder, and a few other tests based on your medical history.

If you are taking any over-the-counter medicines or nutritional supplements, it is always advisable to share all the details with your doctor. If you’re pregnant or may be pregnant, discuss this with your doctor prior to your surgery. Your doctor will brief you on how you can easily prepare for your surgery.

How is open gallbladder removal surgery performed at Southlake General Surgery?

Your doctor may suggest any one of the following gallbladder surgeries:

Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Surgery– is the most preferred surgery over traditional open gallbladder removal surgery. It is also known as minimally invasive surgery. In this surgery, the recovery after gallbladder removal surgery is less and the patient can resume regular activities in about 2 weeks, depending on the doctor’s suggestions.

But in a few circumstances, your doctor may suggest open surgery, which includes:

  • the gallbladder is severely diseased
  • existing abdominal surgeries that lead to inflammatory changes close to the gallbladder area
  • scar tissues on the abdomen

At times, the surgeon starts with laparoscopic surgery but will not have the option to safely remove the gallbladder. In this condition, the surgeon switches the procedure to open surgery.

A standard part of open gallbladder removal surgery is the insertion of an intravenous line into the patient’s arm for the administration of medication and general anesthesia.

Your surgeon makes a large incision in your abdomen to remove the gallbladder. The surgeon removes the gallbladder, closes the incision with stitches, and covers the surgical site with bandages.

You will be moved to the postoperative recovery room after your open surgery. Your health will be closely monitored there until you are ready to leave the hospital.

Recovery time after open gallbladder removal surgery

Recovery time after open surgery is slightly longer as compared to laparoscopic surgery. Your doctor will discharge you from the hospital after examining your health and recovery process without complications. You might have to stay in the hospital for three days after the open surgery. A complete recovery could take about four to six weeks.

To prevent any complications after open surgery, including the following:

  • Daily walk to prevent blood clots.
  • Drink an ample amount of liquid to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights for four to six weeks.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes that could hurt the wound.
  • Change the surgical dressing (bandages) as briefed by your doctor.
  • Only wear loose clothes to avoid any injury to the wound

Viewpoint on Open gallbladder removal surgery

After your open surgical procedure, you can expect mild pain, it should not be severe pain. Many pain medicines taken after surgery may cause constipation. Your doctor may endorse a stool softener or laxative to reduce pressure on wounds. It is a good option to eat a high-fiber diet that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you notice any of the symptoms, immediately contact your doctor:

  • pain gets worse instead of getting better
  • fever more than 101°F
  • Vomiting
  • pus or bloody drainage from the wound
  • redness and swelling at the surgical site
  • Constipation, not passing stools for 2-3 days after surgery


For more information on open gallbladder removal surgery and consultation. Please contact our healthcare expert today at +1 (817) 748-0200. You can also make an online appointment with us.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Valeria Simone MD

Board-certified General Surgeon at Southlake General Surgery, Texas, USA.

Follow us on Facebook and YouTube.