Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is an organ the shape and size of a small pear. It stores a substance called bile made by the liver. It keeps the bile until the body needs it to digest fatty foods.

Why might I need a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy may be done if your gallbladder:

Has lumps of solid material (gallstones)

Is red or swollen (inflamed) or infected (cholecystitis)

Is cancerous

Gallbladder problems may cause pain which:

Is usually on the right side or middle of your upper belly

May be constant or may get worse after a heavy meal

May sometimes feel more like fullness than pain

May be felt in your back and in the tip of your right shoulder blade

Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The symptoms of gallbladder problems may look like other health problems.

What happens during laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes about an hour or two. A surgeon will make a few small incisions in your abdomen. The surgeon will insert thin, hollow tubes into those incisions. The surgical team will then place a laparoscope and other surgical tools into the tubes.

Your team may pump carbon dioxide into your abdomen. This step inflates the surgical area and makes it easier to see inside. Using the special tools, the surgeon will detach the gallbladder from the rest of the body and remove it. The team will then close the incisions with stitches, surgical clips or surgical glue.

If any complications occur during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon may decide to use an open cholecystectomy instead. That procedure involves a larger incision.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

The laparoscopic procedure has several benefits:

  • Less pain.
  • Lower risk of complications.
  • Quicker recovery and return to regular activities.
  • Smaller wounds and scars.