What is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a surgery during which the doctor removes your gallbladder. This procedure uses several small cuts instead of one large one.

A laparoscope, a narrow tube with a camera, is inserted through one incision. This allows your doctor to see your gallbladder on a screen. Your gallbladder is then removed through another small incision.

When is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy used?

The procedure is used when you have stones in your gallbladder.

The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by your liver. Bile helps digest fats in the foods you eat. Gallstones can block the flow of bile in your digestive system. This blockage can cause bloating, nausea, vomiting, and pain in your abdomen, shoulder, back, or chest. Gallstones can also block the ducts that channel the bile from the liver or gallbladder to the intestine. Gallstones can cause the gallbladder to become infected. A blockage in the common bile duct can cause jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes) or irritate the pancreas.

What is an open cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is the removal of your gallbladder through a cut in the upper abdomen.

An open cholecystectomy might be required instead of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy because of:

  • Major scarring from a previous surgery.
  • A bleeding disorder.
  • A condition that would make it difficult to see through the laparoscope.