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Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. This organ is near the liver. It stores bile that is made by the liver. Bile helps in the digestion of fatty foods. The gallbladder releases bile into a system of ducts that lead to the small intestine.
The open version of this surgery is done when the surgeon may not be able to perform a less invasive version called laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy vs. Open Cholecystectomy
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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 gallstones, which are crystals of bile that can form in the gall bladder. 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:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor will probably do some or all of the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep for the procedure.
The doctor will make an incision in the upper right area of your abdomen. The gallbladder will be separated from the structures around it, including the liver, bile ducts, and arteries.
After the gallbladder is gone, your doctor may squirt dye into the bile ducts. This will help show if there is a gallstone in the ducts. The duct may be opened to remove any stones. While your abdomen is open, your doctor will examine the other organs and structures. This will be done to make sure that you do not have any other problems. The incision will be closed with sutures or staples. It will then be covered with a bandage.
Your doctor may place a tiny, flexible tube into the area where the gallbladder was removed. This tube will exit from your abdomen into a little bulb. This is to drain any fluids that may build during the first few days after surgery. The tube is usually removed within one week of your operation.
The gallbladder will be examined by a specialist. You will be taken to a room to recover. You will be monitored closely.
About 30-60 minutes
You will most likely feel some pain after the surgery. Your doctor will arrange for pain medicines.
Recovery takes about 4-6 weeks.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Gastroenterological Association
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Bile, duct, and gall bladder. New York University School of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.nyulaparoscopy.org/surgeries/gallbladder.html. Accessed July 11, 2008.
Cholecystectomy. American College of Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.facs.org/public_info/operation/cholesys.pdf. Accessed January 31, 2013.
Cholecystectomy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 31, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013.
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 in situ. Br J Surg. 2006;93:1185-91.
Gallbladder surgery: laparoscopic cholecystectomy. University of California at Davis website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/specialties/gastro/gall.html. Accessed January 31, 2013.
Martin DJ, Wernon DR, Toouli J. Surgical versus endoscopic treatment of bile duct stones. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Apr 2006;19(2):CD003327.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Marcin Chwistek, 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 © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
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