to view an animated version of this procedure.
Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. This procedure is most often done laparoscopically. This is done through several small incisions in the abdomen. In some cases, the doctor may switch to
. This involves a larger incision in the abdomen.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy vs. Open Cholecystectomy
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
This surgery is used to remove a diseased or damaged gallbladder. The damage is typically caused by infection or inflammation.
The damage is often due to
which are crystals of bile that can form in the gallbladder. Sometimes, these get stuck in the ducts that bile normally flows through. This blockage in the ducts can damage the gallbladder and the liver.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a cholecystectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include: Gallstones that have accidentally entered the abdominal cavityBleedingInfectionInjury to other nearby structures or organsReactions to general anesthesiaBlood clots
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include: Increased agePregnancyObesitySmokingMalnutritionRecent or chronic illnessDiabetesHeart or lung problemsBleeding disordersAlcoholism
and use of illegal drugs
Use of certain medications
Your doctor will probably do some or all of the following: Blood tests to evaluate liver functionUltrasound
to view gallstones
Hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan—an x-ray test that uses a chemical injected into the gall bladder to create pictures of your liver, gallbladder, ducts, and small intestinesEKG
—to make sure that the heart and lungs are healthy enough for surgery
MRI or CT scan to better view the gallbladder
Leading up to your procedure:
Talk to your doctor about your current medicines. Certain medicines may need to be stopped before the procedure, such as:
or other anti-inflammatory drugsBlood-thinning medicationsAnti-platelet medicationsArrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also, have someone help you at home.The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
You may be given:
Laxatives and/or an enemaAntibioticsIf instructed, shower before the procedure. You may be given special soap to use.
Four small openings will be made in your abdomen. Carbon dioxide will be pumped into the abdomen to provide a better view.
The laparoscope will be inserted through one of the openings. It will provide images of the gallbladder and surrounding area. Instruments will be inserted through the small openings. They will be used to grasp the gallbladder and clip off the main artery and duct. The gallbladder will be removed through one of the small openings. Dye may be injected into the duct to look for stones. The entire abdomen will be carefully examined. The incisions will be closed with sutures or staples. They will be covered with bandages.
A tiny, flexible tube may be placed into the area. This tube will exit from your abdomen into a little bulb. This is to drain fluid. The tube is usually removed within one week.
You will be taken to a recovery room.
You will have pain after the procedure. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
If you do not have any problems, you may be able to go home the same day as the surgery or the next day.
After the procedure, the hospital staff will: Monitor you for any problemsGive you medicines for nauseaProvide you with nutrition through an IV if you have a tube in your stomach to drain fluidHelp you to slowly progress from a liquid diet to soft foods
Recovery takes about three weeks. When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery: Follow your doctor’s
instructions.Follow the recommended diet and activity plan.Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Your liver will take over the functions of the gallbladder. You may notice that you have more trouble digesting fatty foods, especially during the first month of recovery.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs: Signs of infection, including fever and chillsRedness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision siteCough, shortness of breath, chest painIncreased abdominal painPain that you cannot control with the medications you have been givenBlood in the stoolNausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given, or which last for more than two daysBloating and gas that persist for more than a monthPain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or blood in the urinePain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legsDark urine, light stools, or yellowing of the skin or eyes
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
About cholecystectomy: surgical removal of the gallbladder. American College of Surgeons. Medem website.
. Accessed July 11, 2008.
Clayton ES, Connor S, Alexakis N, Leandros E. Meta-analysis of endoscopy and surgery versus surgery alone for common bile duct stones with the gallbladder
Br J Surg.
Martin DJ, Wernon DR, Toouli J. Surgical versus endoscopic treatment of bile duct stones.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.