Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

 > General Surgery

 > Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are ‘stones’ that form in your gallbladder. They are common and can run in families. The risk of developing gallstones increases as you get older and if you eat a diet rich in fat.

For some people gallstones can cause severe symptoms, with repeated attacks of abdominal pain being the most common.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should be free of pain and able to eat a normal diet. Surgery should also prevent the serious complications that gallstones can cause.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is recommended as it is the only dependable way to cure the condition.

It is possible to dissolve the stones or even shatter them into small pieces but these techniques involve unpleasant drugs that have side effects and a high failure rate. Antibiotics can be used to treat any infection of your gallbladder. Eating a diet low in fat may help to prevent attacks of pain.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour. Your surgeon will use laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery as this is associated with less pain, less scarring and a faster return to normal activities. They will make several small cuts on your abdomen so they can insert tubes (ports) into your abdomen. Your surgeon will insert surgical instruments through the ports along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

Your surgeon will remove your gallbladder from your abdomen through one of the ports.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the next day.

You should be able to return to work after 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how much surgery you need and your type of work.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

You should make a full recovery and be able to return to normal activities and eat a normal diet.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Developing a hernia in the scar
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Surgical emphysema (crackling sensation in your skin caused by trapped carbon dioxide gas)

Cholecystectomy complications

  • Leaking of bile or stones
  • Retained stones in your common bile duct
  • Continued pain
  • Needing to go to the toilet more often
  • Inflammation of the lining of your abdomen
  • Bile duct injury
  • Allergic reaction to the equipment, materials, medication or dye
  • Bowel injury
  • Pancreatitis, if a stone moves into your common bile duct
  • Serious damage to your liver or its associated blood vessels
  • Tissues can join together in an abnormal way
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

Gallstones are a common problem. An operation to remove your gallbladder should result in you being free of pain and able to eat a normal diet.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
ask a question

We will not contact you for any other reason than to respond to the question or information you request in this form.

For information about how your personal data may be processed please see our Privacy Policy here.

Insured

Find out more about getting started with private health insurance.

Self-Pay

Find out more about our self-pay options.

“Can not fault this hospital one bit. All of the staff were so lovely nothing was too much trouble. Very reassuring and caring which made me feel very much at ease, I didn’t want to come home! They all do such an amazing job and I’m very thankful for everything.”

Jade Baker

“Just had a total knee replacement at this fabulous hospital. From the moment you walk through the door you feel at ease. Everyone was so kind and caring. I was very nervous before my operation, but was soon assured everything would be fine. Thank you to all of you I met over my 4 day stay xx.”

Margaret Dawson

“I was very nervous and stressed before my treatment but all the staff went above and beyond to calm me down and reassure me. I was well informed and was made to feel like a person not just another number. The room I was in was spotlessly clean, not too hot and smelled fresh and not “hospitally”. The staff were very efficient and thorough.”

Leanne Helm

“I was discharged last night following an operation on my ankle. All of the staff where polite and extremely attentive. The room was cosy and clean. Every need was catered for. I was really dreading my operation the staff managed to make my stay very pleasant. Best hospital I’ve ever been in and would highly recommend to anyone. Excellent.”

Mark Goodlad

“Lovey staff, consultants too and such a good atmosphere. Can’t fault it at all”

Vikki Leworthy