Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your gallbladder that collects and stores bile.

June 9, 2022

Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your gallbladder that collects and stores bile.

Some facts about Cholecystectomy: 

  • Cholecystectomy can be performed either by an open surgical technique or laparoscopically.
  • Although the surgery is usually successful in relieving symptoms, postcholecystectomy syndrome may occur in few cases.
  • Bile duct injury, bleeding, wound infection, retained gallstones, abscess formation and stenosis (narrowing) of the bile duct are some complication of cholecystectomy.
  • The most common reasons for removal of the gallbladder is pain and complications due to gallbladder.
  • Pain usually occurs when a gallstone temporarily blocks the bile duct that drains the gallbladder which is felt in the right upper part of the abdomen.
  • The pain is moderate to severe, and goes away on its own after a few hours when the stone dislodges.
  • Usually, the pain occurs after meals when the gallbladder contracts to push bile out into the digestive tract.
  • You can go home the same day of your cholecystectomy in most cases.
  • A cholecystectomy will be recommended if you have gallstones in the gallbladder or in the bile duct, large gallbladder polyps, pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) or gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) due to gallstones.

Preparation for Cholecystectomy: 

  • Avoid eating and drinking anything at least four hours before your surgery.
  • You may drink a sip of water with your medications if needed.
  • Any history of bleeding disorders or are taking any blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medicines, aspirin, or other medicines that affect blood clotting should be informed to your healthcare provider as you may be asked to stop taking these medicines before your surgery.

Procedure for Cholecystectomy:

  • Cholecystectomy is performed under general anesthesia which is given through a vein in your arm.
  • A tube will be inserted down your throat by your health care team to help you breathe, once the drugs take effect.
  • Cholecystectomy will be performed by your surgeon using either a laparoscopic or open procedure.
  • Four small incisions will be made in your abdomen by your surgeon during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
  • A tube with a tiny video camera will be inserted into your abdomen through one of these incisions. 
  • Surgical tools will be inserted through the other incisions in your abdomen to remove your gallbladder while watching a video monitor in the operating room.
  • An X-ray or ultrasound may be performed if your surgeon is concerned about possible gallstones or other problems in your bile duct.
  • You will be taken to a recovery area after your incisions are sutured.
  • Usually, a  laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes one to two hours.
  • Sometimes it becomes necessary to make a larger incision because of scar tissue from previous operations or complications.
  • Traditional or open cholecystectomy will be done in such cases where a laparoscopic cholecystectomy isn't appropriate.
  • A 6-inch (15-centimeter) incision will be made in your abdomen below your ribs on your right side by your surgeon during an open cholecystectomy.
  • The muscle and tissue will be pulled back to reveal your liver and gallbladder and then the gallbladder will be removed by your surgeon.
  • You will be taken to a recovery area after your incisions are sutured.
  • Usually an open cholecystectomy takes one to two hours.