Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallstones)
This page will provide you with information about the laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What are gallstones?
Gallstones are small crystals, often made up of cholesterol, that grow in the gallbladder and over the years can sometimes reach the size of a pebble. Often, they are symptomless and do not require treatment however sometimes they can result in blockages that can trigger intense bouts of abdominal pain. This is when it is important to visit your consultant.
You are at a greater risk of developing gallstones the older you get and if you consume a high fat diet.
What are the alternatives to surgery?
Gallstones will not disappear on their own and surgery is the most effective way of halting the symptoms and preventing recurrence.
Other techniques involve using drugs to dissolve the crystals but this does not have a high success rate and can cause adverse side effects. Eating a low fat diet has been known to help control symptoms but this is not guaranteed.
Surgery generally alleviates the pain, helps prevent serious complications occurring as a result of the gallstones and allows you to eat a normal diet.
What will happen during the operation?
This procedure takes place under general anaesthetic so you will be asleep throughout. It takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.
The surgeon will make a few small incisions in the abdomen and insert surgical tools, including a slim telescope, to perform the operation. The gallbladder will be separated from the liver and removed, and the wound will be closed with stitches.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
You should be able to leave the hospital the next day. Your healthcare team will provide advice for your specific situation, but most people are able to return to work after two to four weeks.
Although exercise is recommended to help the recovery process, ensure you take advice from your consultant before you start.
If gallstones form in the gallbladder they can lead to pain and discomfort. Removing the gallbladder with a laparoscopic cholecystectomy should prevent this discomfort and permit a normal diet.
EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.