What is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder.

The surgeon makes a few small incisions on the right side of your abdomen (belly). The surgeon uses one incision to insert a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera on the end. This shows your gallbladder on a screen. The gallbladder then gets removed through another small incision.

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive than an open cholecystectomy. This other form of gallbladder removal involves a larger incision.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is an organ the shape and size of a small pear. It stores a substance called bile made by the liver. It keeps the bile until the body needs it to digest fatty foods.

Who needs to have gallbladder removal?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy helps people with gallstones that are causing pain and infection.

Gallstones are crystals that form in the gallbladder. They can block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder into your digestive system. This roadblock causes cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder). Gallstones can also move to other parts of the body and cause problems.

Symptoms of gallstones include:

  • Feeling bloated.
  • Fever.
  • Jaundice (yellow-looking skin).
  • Nausea.
  • Pain in the right side of the abdomen, which may reach the back or the shoulder.

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