Gallstone Diagram

Gallstone Surgery

Gallstones are a frequent problem, and can cause pain, gallbladder infection, jaundice and inflammation of the pancreas. In general, if gallstones are causing symptoms and the patient is fit for surgery, the recommendation is that the gallbladder be removed.

Keyhole gallbladder removal (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) is one of the most commonly performed operations in the UK. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed under general anaesthetic, either as a day case or as an overnight stay. Via four small incisions, the gallbladder is detached from the liver and removed via the belly button incision. The operation takes around one hour. In about 1 in 50 cases it is not possible to remove the gallbladder with keyhole surgery, and a larger incision (open operation) under the ribs on the right side is required.

Normally any discomfort from the operation is gone after 2 weeks and patients can return to work at that time. If an open operation is required, hospital stay is 4-5 days and recovery can take 4-6 weeks.

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