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Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery


Definition: The removal of the gallbladder is one of the most common surgical procedures performed by surgeons. The surgical term for this procedure is laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The gallbladder is a pear shaped organ that rests beneath the liver on the right side. The gallbladder’s main function is to store and concentrate bile, a substance secreted by the liver that helps with digestion. Removal of the gallbladder is not associated with any digestive impairment in the majority of cases.

Reason for procedure:

  • Gallstones
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dysfunctional gallbladder
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Pancreatitis


  • Nausea
  • Jaundice
  • Indigestion
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Abdominal pain that may radiate to the back
  • Bloating and cramps

Treatment options

  • Nonsurgical option:

§  Oral bile acids- not often used

§  Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy

§  Contact dissolution therapy

§  Percutaneous insertion of a gallbladder drain (temporary measure)

  • Surgical options: Laparoscopic gallbladder removal rather than open removal is the treatment of choice for treating gallbladder disease.

Risks associated with surgery

  • Infection of the skin
  • Common bile duct injury
  • Intra-abdominal collection of bile (biloma)or blood
  • Postoperative ileus (the intestines slow down/stop working for several days)
  • Intestinal injury

(This is only a partial list of potential complications)

Pre-operative preparation

  • May include blood work, urinalysis, abdominal x-rays, an abdominal CT scan, ultrasound, HIDA scan, endoscopy or ERCP.

Average hospital stay:

  • Most procedures are performed on an outpatient basis (same day surgery). For open removal of the gallbladder, patients may remain hospitalized for about 1-3 days.

Type of anesthesia required:

  • Laparoscopic surgery requires general anesthesia which blocks pain and keeps you asleep throughout the entire surgery.

Recovery period

Once you have undergone laparoscopic surgery, your recovery period is usually shortened when compared to conventional open surgery. Most patients are usually discharged the same day. You will be given pain medication along with a laxative to prevent constipation. Your activity may be limited to light lifting (no more than 20 lb) for one month.