Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
How is the gallbladder removed?
The surgery to remove the gallbladder is called
a cholecystectomy (say "co-lee-sist-eck-toe-mee"). With traditional surgery, the
gallbladder is removed through a 5- to 8-inch long incision (cut) in your
abdomen. The cut is made just below your ribs on the right side and goes to just
below your waist. This is called open cholecystectomy.
A newer way to remove the gallbladder is called
laparoscopic (say "lap-are-oh-skop-ick") cholecystectomy. With this surgery, a
laparoscope (a small, thin tube with a scope on the tip of it that is used to
see the inside of your body) is used to remove the gallbladder. Several small
incisions are used rather than one large incision.
How is a laparoscope used to remove
The laparoscope is put into your body through a
tiny cut made just below your navel. Your doctor can then see your gallbladder
on a TV screen and do the surgery with tools inserted in 3 other small cuts made
in the right upper part of your abdomen. Your gallbladder is then taken out
through one of the incisions.
What are the benefits of this type
With laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you may
return to work more quickly, have less pain after surgery, have a shorter
hospital stay, and have a shorter recovery time. Unlike traditional surgery,
laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder can be done without cutting the
muscles of your abdomen. The incision is also much smaller, which makes the
With laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you probably
will only have to stay in the hospital overnight. With open cholecystectomy, you
would need to stay in the hospital for about 5 days. Because the incisions are
smaller with laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there isn't as much pain after this
operation as after open cholecystectomy.
Who shouldn't have this type of
If you had surgery in the area of your
gallbladder before, if you tend to bleed a lot, or if you have any problem that
would make it hard for your doctor to see your gallbladder, an open surgery may
be better for you. Your doctor will decide which type of surgery is appropriate
What are the complications?
Complications are rare but may include bleeding,
infection and injury to the duct (tube) that carries bile from your gallbladder
to your stomach. Also, during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the intestines or
major blood vessels may be injured when the instruments are inserted into the
abdomen. Remember, all of these complications are rare.