LAPAROSCOPIC REMOVAL OF THE GALLBLADDER (CHOLECYSTECTOMY)

A laparoscopic (keyhole) cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder. This procedure is less invasive than an open cholecystectomy and Mr Michael Stellakis will perform this operation using a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera, through 3 to 4 small incisions. The gallbladder with the stones is detached from the liver and brought out of the abdominal cavity through a small incision near your naval. The surgery time ranges from 30 minutes to 3 hours in the more difficult cases.

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is required for those patients that are suffering from problems relating to their gallbladder and is commonly performed for those who are experiencing bouts of sever pain associated with gallstones or have suffered a complication of gallstones such as cholecystitis (infection), pancreatitis or cholangitis.

Please see Gallbladder Conditions for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Removing the gallbladder usually resolves any issues with gallstones and it is possible to live without it. A laparoscopic procedure involves less pain and a lower risk of complications including a much smaller scar. There are some risks such as bile leaking inside the body, bleeding, infection and injury to other organs and the bile duct. Whilst these can be serious they are thankfully very rare but Mr Michael Stellakis will fully explain all potential risks during your consultation.

Please refer to the information sheet below.

One would hope a lot less painful! It means you can eat what you want and you should no longer get pain or any complications such as infection associated with your gallbladder and stones. Whilst your gallbladder does have some functionality, often with gallstones its is not functioning properly so you really shouldn’t notice any difference. About 4% of people go on to get diarrhoea after the operation which can last a long time; possibly several months. It generally does improve with time and can be treated. In a small percentage (5%) of cases removing the gallbladder does not cure the pain. These patients may need to undergo further investigation.

After a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you usually return home the same day and Mr Stellakis will give you advice on how best to recover, including drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods high in fibre to help ease your bowel movements.

You will experience some post operative pain and possibly pain in the shoulder tip. The latter pain usually subsides after 24 hours. The generalised pain should slowly improve each day and you should be pain free and fully recovered between 2 and 4 weeks. This is a fairly wide range as people do recover at different rates. It is sensible to take 4 weeks off work and if you are desperate to get back at 2 weeks the fitnesses to work certificate can easily be amended.

Wound care

If  dressings were used they should stay on for 48 hours. We advise just washing during this time to reduce the risk of getting the dressing wet and encouraging infection. That means no showers or baths. On day 3 you can take the dressing off and shower as normal and re-apply a new dressing if you wish. After 5 days just leave it open to the air. Avoid bathing, soaking or swimming for one week.

If cyanoacrylate glue was used as a dressing then you can forget the wounds and shower as you normally would the next day after surgery.

Activities

The general rule is to stay active; walking around; going up the stairs from day one but be sensible. Your body will let you know if you are overdoing it. Each day you can do more. Avoid heavy lifting for 2 weeks. Heavy lifting is furniture, garden machinery and people! You can drive when you are able to make an emergency stop without pain. This varies but generally most people are OK to drive at about 7 to 10 days.

Food

Eat whatever you fancy but remember when the breaks come off the low fat diet you could put on weight!