What gallbladder removal surgery involves

You'll need to have a pre-operative assessment in hospital during the weeks leading up to yourgallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy).

During this appointment:

  • you may havesome Blood tests and a general health check to make sure that you're fit for surgery and determine whether a keyhole or open procedure (see below) is most suitable for you
  • you candiscuss any concerns or ask any questions about your operation
  • you'll be advised about things you can do to reduce your risk of problems after surgery, such as stopping smoking
  • you'll be told about when you need to stop eating and drinking before your operation this will usually be from the night before


Types ofgallbladder removal surgery

There are two main ways gallbladder removal surgery can be performed:

  • laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery several small cuts (incisions) are made in your tummy (abdomen) to access and remove your gallbladder
  • open surgery a single, larger incision is made in your tummy to access and remove your gallbladder

Both procedures are performed under general anaesthetic (where you're asleep) and both are equally effective.

However, keyhole surgery tends to be carried out whenever possible because you can leave hospital sooner, recover faster and are left with smaller scars.

Keyhole surgery

During keyhole gallbladder removal surgery:

  • a small incision(about 2-3cm) is made by your belly button and two or three smaller incisions (about 1cm or less) or made on the right side of your tummy
  • a small tube is inserted into one of the incisions and carbon dioxide gas is pumped into your tummy, inflating the abdomen to make it easier for your surgeon to access your gallbladder
  • alaparoscope (a long, thin telescope with a light and camera at the end) is inserted through the larger incision, whichallows your surgeon to see inside your tummy on a monitor
  • special surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions and are used to remove your gallbladder
  • the gas is released from your tummy,and the incisions areclosed with stitches and covered with dressings

You can usuallygo home later the sameday. Recoverytypically takes about two weeks.

Recovery typically takes six to eight weeks.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016