Gallbladder removal

Why is gallbladder removal surgery performed?

Gallbladder removal surgery is typically performed to treat painful gallstones that can pass into the common bile duct. In many patients, gallstones may not cause any symptoms (asymptomatic) but in others they can give rise to a variety of symptoms such as pain in the upper right abdomen, feeling of nausea and vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), and acute pancreatitis.  NICE guidelines recommend that all suitable patients are offered laparoscopic cholecystectomy as soon as practically feasible. 


How can I find out if I have gallstones?

Usually, an ultrasound scan is all that is required to diagnose gallstones. Depending on circumstances your surgeon may recommend a CT scan, MRI or Cholescintigraphy (HIDA Scan).


I’ve been told I have gallstones, what do I do next?

The first step is to book a consultation with our specialist surgeon. During the consultation your surgeon will examine you and discuss risks and benefits of gallbladder surgery. You will be offered an information leaflet or directed towards online resources. Your surgeon may then request an ultrasound scan of your abdomen and arrange to see you again with the scan results. If you wish to go ahead with surgery, a date for your surgery will then be arranged. 


What happens on the day of surgery?

You will be required to fast for 6 hours before your surgery. The surgery normally lasts for 2 hours and if it all goes as planned, you will be fit for discharge later the same day. If you have your surgery later in the day, you may be required to stay overnight and go home the next morning. Discharge is nurse-led, and you will be sent home with painkillers and post-op care instructions. You will be expected to refrain from driving for at least 24 hours and may need a week off work or engage in light activities only. 


What are the risks of gallbladder removal?

As with any surgery, gallbladder surgery comes with risks. These include:

  • Risks common to any laparoscopic surgery such as bleeding, infection, thromboembolism, reaction to anaesthesia, conversion to open surgery (5%).
  • Injury to the common bile duct or surrounding organs.
  • Bile leak, a small proportion of patients with bile leak may require repeat operation.
  • Subsequent formation of gallstones in the common bile duct.
  • Need for further procedures like ERCP (endoscopy to remove stones from bile duct or to insert stent/plastic tube in the bile duct)
  • Post-operative diarrhoea in small proportion of patients, usually temporary.
  • Inability to remove the gallbladder completely because of inflammation. The surgeon may elect to remove most of the gallbladder with the stones, whilst leaving a small cuff of gallbladder still attached to the bile duct (sub-total cholecystectomy). 2% patients undergoing sub-total cholecystectomy may require further operations for recurrent symptoms. For such operations, patients are usually referred to a tertiary hepatobiliary centre for open surgery.

Why you should consider private gallbladder surgery at Kinvara Private Hospital

  • Highly experienced specialist surgeons
  • Short waiting time from consultation to surgery
  • Safe, comfortable clinical environment
  • Private room with free Wi-Fi and experienced nursing team
  • Excellent aftercare 

01709 464200 




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