Mr. Matthew Tutton

Gall Bladder Surgery

Alternative Names

Open cholecystectomy; Laparoscopic cholecystectomy; Cholecystectomy


Gallbladder removal is surgery to remove the gallbladder. The surgery is usually done if the organ is inflamed or obstructed, if gallstones are causing pancreatitis, or for gallbladder polyps.


The surgery is done under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free). The procedure is done using laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes 4 small cuts in the abdomen. The laparoscope is passed through a special trocar through these small cuts into the abdomen. Carbon dioxide is passed into the abdomen so that the abdominal wall is lifted up. This provides more space for the surgeon to work.

The surgeon identifies the vessels and duct going to the gallbladder and then clips and cuts them. A special tube can then be placed via the cystic duct from the gallbladder to allow x-ray dye to be injected to make sure that no gallstones have fallen out of the gallbladder into the common bile duct. If stones are in the common bile duct these can be removed laparoscopically at the same operation. The gallbladder is then removed.

Rarely (1-2%) in complicated cases, an open cholecystectomy may be performed. A larger surgical cut is made just below the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. As with laparoscopic surgery, the vessels and ducts going to the gallbladder are identified, clipped, and cut. The gallbladder is removed.

After surgery, the wounds are closed with dissolvable sutures.

Laparoscopic surgery often has a lower rate of complications, a shorter hospital stay, and better cosmetic results than the open procedure.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Gallbladder removal is usually done to treat the following conditions:

  • Gallbladder disease
    • Gallstones
    • Infection or inflammation (cholecystitis)
    • Gallbladder polyps
  • Biliary dyskinesia (abnormal gallbladder function)


The risks for any anesthesia include:
  • Reactions to medications
  • Problems breathing

The risks for surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to the common bile duct

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most patients do very well and recover rapidly.


For open gallbladder removal, you will generally need about 2 weeks for recovery.

For laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, your hospital stay is likely to be shorter, and you may be home within 24 hours. Your recovery time is likely to be shorter as well.

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