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The gallbladder is an organ in your body that stores bile. Bile is a bitter, yellow fluid produced by your liver. Bile is released by your gallbladder into the small intestine when you eat and helps to break down fats.

When the components that make up bile get out of balance gallstones can form. Gallstones are frequently not a problem and go unnoticed. However if a gallstone becomes trapped in the opening (duct) in your gall bladder it can cause severe abdominal pain lasting from one to five hours.

Left untreated gallstone disease can cause persistent pain, yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) and elevated body temperature. In severe cases gallstones can move to the pancreas causing pain and inflammation.

Treatment for gallstones usually involves minimally invasive keyhole surgery (laparoscopic cholecystectomy).

What happens during laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes about an hour.

Your surgeon will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen (stomach). They will place surgical instruments, along with a tube connected to a light and camera (called a laparoscope) inside your abdomen to perform the operation. So your surgeon will have room to work your abdomen will be inflated with carbon dioxide. 

Your surgeon will free up your gallbladder duct (cystic duct) and artery. They will then separate your gallbladder from your liver and remove it through one of the incisions.

After your operation

Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic. Your wounds, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully.

You may have a drain in your abdomen to remove fluid. This will be removed before you leave hospital.

You may also have a drip (infusion) going into your arm. This will keep you hydrated until you are able to drink. When you are stable and comfortable, a nurse will take you to your room.

Going home after laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Most people recover quickly from laparoscopic cholecystectomy. You may be able to go home the day of your surgery or stay just one night. You should arrange for someone to drive you home as the effects of anaesthesia can take a few hours to wear off.

You may have pain from your surgical wounds and your abdomen may fell bloated. This should ease after several days. Be sure and take any painkillers you have been given as prescribed.

If your wounds were closed by removable stitches you will need to have them removed by the Practice Nurse at your GP’s office.

Avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for the first two weeks. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your surgeon.

What are the complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

As with any surgery there can be complications:

General complications of surgery:

Specific complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy might include:
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Developing a hernia in the scar
  • Leaking of bile
  • Retained stones
  • Diarrhoea
  • Inflammation of the abdomen.
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
Overall rating View rating
Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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