What is a cholecystectomy?

The gallbladder is an organ which is shaped like a pear and is located below your liver and on the upper right side of your abdomen. The purpose of the gallbladder is to collect and store bile; a digestive fluid produced in the liver. A cholecystectomy is a surgery done to remove the gallbladder. There are two ways of doing a cholecystectomy; laparoscopic and open.

When is surgery needed?

Dr Ross might recommend a cholecystectomy in any of the following instances:

  • As treatment for gallstones in the gallbladder
  • As treatment for gallstones in the bile duct
  • When the gallbladder is inflamed
  • For large gallbladder polyps
  • Inflammation of the pancreas as a result of gallstones

How is surgery done?

Taking your unique case into consideration, there are two ways Dr Ross can perform a cholecystectomy; laparoscopic and open. In laparoscopic (minimally invasive) cholecystectomy, Dr Ross makes four tiny incisions in your abdomen. Through one of these incisions, Dr Ross will insert a small camera which allows for viewing via a video monitor as the doctor inserts surgical tools into the other incisions to remove the gallbladder. According to Dr Ross’ assessment of your situation, you might require the next step which is to be placed under an imaging test (X-ray or ultrasound) which will help detect any gallstones or problems in your bile duct. Lastly, Dr Ross sutures your incisions.

In open cholecystectomy, Dr Ross makes a singular, much larger incision in your abdomen on your right side and just below your liver. Dr Ross then pulls back the muscle and tissue, which reveals the gallbladder, which is to be removed. He will then close the incisions with sutures.

What can I expect after surgery?

After a cholecystectomy, you will be placed in a recovery area while the anaesthesia wears off. After a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, it takes approximately a week to fully recover. Expect to go home once you are able to eat and drink without experiencing any pain and can walk without any assistance. In open cholecystectomy, be prepared to spend two to three days in the hospital recovering, and once you are home, prepare to spend four to six weeks recovering.


parallax background

Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence.
It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes
a willingness to try.

Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance


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