Gallbladder removal - open

Definition

Open gallbladder removal is surgery to remove the gallbladder through a large cut in your abdomen.

Alternative Names

Cholecystectomy - open; Surgery - gallbladder - open

Description

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

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

The surgery takes about 1 hour.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

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

Common symptoms may include:

The most common way to remove the gallbladder is by using a medical instrument called a laparoscope (laparoscopic cholecystectomy). Open gallbladder surgery is used when laparoscopic surgery cannot be done safely. In some cases, the surgeon needs to switch to an open surgery if laparoscopic surgery cannot be successfully continued.

Other reasons for removing the gallbladder by open surgery:

Risks

Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks of gallbladder surgery are:

Before the Procedure

Your may have the following tests done before surgery:

Tell your doctor or nurse:

During the week before surgery:

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

You may stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after open gallbladder removal. During that time:

If there were problems during your surgery, or if you have bleeding, a lot of pain, or a fever, you may need to stay in the hospital longer. Your doctor or nurses will tell you how to care for yourself after you leave the hospital.

Outlook (Prognosis)

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

References

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. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010: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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