Gallbladder removal - laparoscopic


Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is surgery to remove the gallbladder using a medical device called a laparoscope.

Alternative Names

Cholecystectomy - laparoscopic; Surgery - gallbladder - laparoscopic


Surgery using a laparoscope is the most common way to remove the gallbladder. A laparoscope is a thin, lighted tube that lets the doctor see inside your belly.

Gallbladder removal surgery is done while you are under general anesthesia so you will be asleep and pain-free. To perform the surgery:

The operation is done the following way:

The gallbladder is then removed using the laparoscope and other instruments.

An x-ray called a cholangiogram may be done during your surgery.

Sometimes the surgeon cannot safely take out the gallbladder using a laparoscope. In this case, the surgeon will use open surgery, in which a larger cut is made.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

You may need this surgery if you have pain or other symptoms from gallstones. You may also need it if your gallbladder is not working normally.

Common symptoms may include:

Most people have a quicker recovery and fewer problems with laparoscopic surgery than with open surgery.


Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general include:

Risks for gallbladder surgery include:

Before the Procedure

You may have the following tests done before your surgery:

Tell your health care provider:

During the week before surgery:

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

If you do not have any problems, you will be able to go home when you are able to drink liquids easily and your pain can be treated with pain pills. Most people go home on the same day or the day after this surgery.

If there were problems during surgery, or if you have bleeding, a lot of pain, or a fever, you may need to stay in the hospital longer.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people recover quickly and have good results from this procedure.


Glasgow RE, Mulvihill SJ. Treatment of gallstone disease: In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 66.

Jackson PG, Evans SRT. Biliary system. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 55.

Review Date: 7/28/2015
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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