Cholecystectomy (ko-luh-sis-TEK-tuh-mee) is surgery to remove the gallbladder and gallstones. It is usually done as a laparoscopic surgery. Some people call this "Band-aid surgery" because it requires only small cuts (incisions). To do this type of surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube, or scope, and other surgical tools through the small incisions in your belly. The doctor is able to see your organs with the scope. After your gallbladder is removed, you will no longer have gallstones. The incisions leave scars that usually fade with time.
Most people go home the day of surgery. You probably will feel better each day. Most people have only a small amount of pain after 1 week. If you have a desk-type job, you will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine in 1 to 2 weeks. If you lift heavy objects or have a very active job, such as being a carpenter or doing outdoor work, it may take up to 4 weeks.
Either before or during surgery, your doctor may choose to do an open surgery instead. In this type of surgery, your doctor will make a larger cut in your upper belly. You will probably stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days, and it may take 4 to 6 weeks before you get back to your normal routine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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