Gallbladder surgery

This procedure removes the gallbladder and gallstones via keyhole surgery.

Q: Why would I need this operation?

The operation will prevent future symptoms relating to your gallbladder from recurring.  You may have had problems with gallstones causing pain or pancreatitis.  Gallstones can also cause problems within the ducts of your liver and you may have developed jaundice (skin and eyes turning yellow).

Q: How do I know for sure that I have the condition therefore need this operation?

An ultrasound usually confirms the presence of gallstones.  If there is suspected stones in the duct, you may require a MRI or a CT scan.

Q: What scar will I have and what does the procedure involve?

You will have 4 keyhole scars measuring 1-2cm. One is located near the belly button, one above the belly button, one under the right rib cage, and one below that.  This allows a camera and instruments to be inserted for the operation.  Less than 5% of the time keyhole surgery is not possible.  If this is the case you will have an 8-10cm scar below your right rib cage. This is then called an open cholecystectomy.

Q: What anaesthetic will I have and do I have a choice?

You will need to have a general anaesthetic. 

Q: What are the possible complications and what are the chances that they will occur?

Possible complications specific to this operation ae rare but may include injury to the liver duct.  This occurs <1% of the time. Bleeding and infection is also a possibility.

Q: What can I expect after the operation?

After the operation you may have a drain. This will be removed the day after provided that there is not much coming out of it. You will usually be admitted overnight. It is possible to get you home on the same day if you are keen.

Q: Should I not be doing certain things after the operation?

You can eat normally.  Usual precautions such as no heavy lifting for 6 weeks is recommended.

Q: How long should I be off work?

You will most likely need 1 week off work.  However, depending on your occupation, this may vary.  Discuss this with your surgeon.

Q: When will I see my surgeon for review?

Your surgeon will review you within 2-3 weeks after the operation.