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What You Can Expect From Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder Removal Surgery

Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery or cholecystectomy removes the gallbladder and gallstones through several small cuts (incisions) in the abdomen. While the gallbladder serves an important function, it is not essential for a normal, healthy life. When gallstones are persistently troublesome, doctors often recommend removing the organ entirely. This operation is considered among the safest of all surgical procedures. It is also the only treatment method that eliminates the possibility that other gallstones will develop in the future.

In the past, removal of the gallbladder was done through traditional "open" surgery, which requires surgeons to make a large incision in the abdomen. Patients faced a two- or three-day hospital stay plus several weeks of recovery at home.

The most recent and least invasive technique is the Single Incision Laparoscopic (SILS) Cholecystectomy.

Image source: The Expert Institute

In this technique pain is least as surgery is preformed through a single, small key hole-sized cut and there are no obvious scars, as the incision is made within the belly button. Benefits include:

  • Better cosmesis with no externally visible scar

  • Earlier return to activities of daily living

  • Earlier return to work

  • 1 incision instead of 4 hence, less pain

  • 1 incision instead of 4 hence less risk of related complications

The procedure
During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon will first makes four small incisions in your abdomen. One of the incisions is a tube with a tiny video so the surgeon can monitor in the operating room while using surgical tools for the removal of the gallbladder. You may undergo an X-ray or ultrasound if your surgeon is concerned about possible gallstones or other problems in your bile duct. The whole procedure takes about one or two hours.
However, not everyone is fit for the least invasive technique as some patient may require a larger incision because of scar tissue from previous operations or other complications. Consult your surgeon for the best advice.

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