Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of your gall bladder using minimal invasive laparoscopic techniques. It involves making several small incisions rather than one large cut as in open gallbladder removal surgery and offers patients a quicker recovery time.
What is a gallbladder removal?
Gallbladder removal is a very common procedure that is performed if you have painful gallstones or your gallbladder is diseased or damaged.
Your gallbladder is not essential for your body to function, so if you develop problems with it, surgery is often recommended to remove it. It is a small, pouch-like organ connected to your liver and your intestines by tubes called bile ducts. It stores a fluid called bile that helps your digestion, mainly of fats. Sometimes the chemicals in bile form small stones, known as gallstones, that may block the flow of bile and irritate your gallbladder or pancreas.
Your doctor may recommend removing your gallbladder if gallstones are causing: pain, your skin and the whites of your eyes to become yellow (jaundice) or, inflammation of your pancreas. Other reasons may include gallbladder cancer.
If your gallbladder is removed the bile will flow from your liver directly to your intestines and normal digestion will continue.
What does a gallbladder removal involve?
A gall bladder removal can be performed in two main ways, both under general anaesthetic:
• laparoscopic cholecystectomy – most often carried out as it is a day case procedure that offers a faster recovery and smaller scars.
Several small incisions are made around your stomach. A small tube is inserted into one of the incisions and carbon dioxide gas is pumped into your stomach to inflate it to let your surgeon see and access your gallbladder easier. Into another incision a long, thin telescope with a light and camera at the end, called a laparoscope, is inserted. This allows your surgeon to see the inside of your stomach using images projected on a monitor. Special surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions and are used to remove your gallbladder.
Once your gallbladder is removed, the gas is released from your stomach and, the incisions are stitched closed.
• open cholecystectomy – may be recommended if laparoscopic surgery is not suitable or if your surgeon needs to turn laparoscopic surgery to open surgery as they cannot see or remove your gallbladder safely otherwise.
Your surgeon will make a single larger incision in your stomach and use surgical instruments to remove your gallbladder. They will then stitch the opening closed.
What complication can happen after a gallbladder removal involve?
Gallbladder removal surgery is a safe procedure. However, it is a surgical procedure and as such carries a risk of complications.
These may include: wound infection, bleeding, bile leakage, injury to your bile duct, intestine, bowel or blood vessels, blood clots, reaction to the anaesthetic and post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) with symptoms similar to those caused by gallstones.
Gallbladder removal recovery
Your recovery will depend on whether you have laparoscopic or open surgery for your gall bladder removal.
After laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you can usually go home later the same day. You can expect to recover and return to your normal activities within two weeks.
It takes longer to recover from open cholecystectomy. You may stay in hospital for three to five days and it could be up to eight weeks before you are recovered and able to return to normal activities.
Your surgeon and healthcare team will advise you on what you can and cannot do following your gallbladder removal.
Gallbladder Removal with Tees Valley Hospital
You will receive the very best of health care for your gallbladder removal at Tees Valley Hospital, Teesside’s newest private hospital with state of the art facilities.
We work in partnership with highly qualified and experienced surgeons who routinely perform laparoscopic cholecystectomy in our dedicated endoscopy suite. We also have three laminar flow theatres, 12 day patient pods and, 19 en-suite bedrooms in a relaxing modern environment.
At Tees Valley Hospital, we offer easy access to convenient appointments with a consultant who will discuss your treatment options in detail with you and ensure you have a safe and speedy recovery.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies. We also have competitive and comprehensive self-pay packages if required.
Contact us to book an appointment.