Cholecystectomy – Requirement & risks


The cholecystectomy is a surgery which is done to remove the gallbladder. We know that the gallbladder is a small organ which is under the liver. It is on the upper right side of the belly and abdomen. We know that the gallbladder stores a digestive juice called bile which is made in the liver. There are two types of surgery which can be done to remove the gallbladder:

  • Open (traditional) method: When is used this method, then one cut (incision) about four to six inches long is made in the upper right – hand side of the belly. The surgeon finds the gallbladder and he or she takes it out through the incision.
  • Laparoscopic method: In this method are used three to four very small incisions. It is using a long and thin tube which is called laparoscope. This tube has a tiny video camera and surgical tools. The tube, camera and tools are put in through the incisions and the surgeon does the surgery while he is looking at a TV monitor. Then, the doctor is removign the gallbladder through one of the incisions. [1]

The laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive which means that it uses very small incisions in the belly. Also, there is less bleeding and the recovery time is usually shorter than an open surgery. There are some cases when the laparoscope can show that your gallbladder is very diseases or it may show other problems. This is a reason why the surgeon may need to use an open surgery method to remove the gallbladder safely.

The need of cholecystectomy


The cholecystectomy may be done if the gallbladder:

  • is cancerous
  • is red or swollen (inflamed), or infected (cholecystitis)
  • has lumps of solid material (gallstones)

Gallbladder problems can cause pain which:

  • It can be felt in your back and in the tip of your right shoulder blade
  • May sometimes feel more like fullness than pain
  • May be constant or may get worse after a heavy meal
  • Is usually on the right side or middle of you upper belly

Also, there can be other symptoms, such as chills, fever, vomiting and nausea. The symptoms of the gallbladder problems can look like other health problems. This is a reason why you should always see your healthcare provider to be sure what the problem is. Your doctor may have other reasons why he will recommend the cholecystectomy.


There are some possible complications which can be caused by cholecystectomy, such as

  • You can have a bulging of organ or tissue (a hernia) at the incision site
  • Bleeding
  • Liver injury
  • Infection [2]
  • You can have scars and a numb feeling at the incision site
  • You can have injury to the tube (the bile duct) that carries bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine [3]

During the laparoscopic procedure, the surgical tools are put into your belly and this can hurt your blood vessels or intestines. Also, you can have other risks which are unique to you. You should be sure to discuss about any concerns with your healthcare provider before you do the cholecystectomy.

What you can expect

You should know that the cholecystectomy is performed using general anesthesia, so you will not be aware during the procedure. The anesthesia drugs are given through a vein in your arm. When the drugs take the effect, then your healthcare team will insert a tube down your throat which can help you to breathe. The surgeon which makes the cholecystectomy will do it using either open procedure or laparoscopic procedure. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you. [1]

You should ask your doctor if you have any questions. You must not eat or drink for eight hours before making the cholecystectomy. This means that you should not drink or eat after midnight. [4] If you are pregnant or you think that you may be pregnant, you need to tell your doctor. You should tell your doctor if you are sensitive to or allergic to any medicines, anesthesia medicines, latex and tape. If you take some medicines, then you should tell them to your doctor. You should tell your doctor if you take any blood – thinning medicines, aspirin, ibuprofen or other medicines which affect the blood clotting. You may need to stop taking these medicines before the cholecystectomy. [5]


[1] Acar T, Kamer E, Acar N, et al. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the treatment of acute cholecystitis: comparison of results between early and late cholecystectomy. The Pan African Medical Journal. 2017;26:49.

[2] Warren DK, Nickel KB, Wallace AE, et al. Risk factors for surgical site infection after cholecystectomy. Open Forum Infectious Diseases. 2017;4(2):ofx036.

[3] Sahiner IT, Kendirci M. Retrospective clinical study of the effects of T-tube placement for bile duct stricture. Medical Science Monitor. 2017;23:4328–33.

[4] Shin Y, Choi D, Lee KG, et al. Association between dietary intake and postlaparoscopic cholecystectomic symptoms in patients with gallbladder disease. The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine. 2018;33(4):829–36.

[5] Johns Hopkins Medicine. Cholecystectomy. Retrieved from


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