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A Cholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small sac-like organ that is located under the liver in the upper right abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is a fluid that is produced by the liver to help digest fat.

There are several reasons why a Cholecystectomy may be done. The most common reason is gallstones.

Most Cholecystectomies are performed using a minimally invasive surgery called Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. This type of surgery is done through small incisions in the abdomen. A camera is inserted into the abdomen through one of the incisions to help the surgeon see the gallbladder. The surgeon then inserts surgical instruments through the other incisions to remove the gallbladder.


What are gallstones?


Gallstones are hard deposits that can form in the gallbladder. They can cause pain and other problems. Other reasons for Cholecystectomy include cancer, inflammation, and infection.

Although the precise causes of gallstones are not fully understood, they are thought to be more common in women and tend to develop in older individuals or those who are overweight.


How long does gallbladder surgery take?

A straightforward Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal requires about 30 to 90 minutes of operative time, one to two hours of preoperative preparation and approximately an hour or two of recovery time.


How do you know if your gallbladder needs to be removed?

Gallstones can form when the bile stored in the gallbladder hardens into a stone-like substance. Gallstones range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Symptoms are not always present, so anyone can have gallstones without knowing it. However, some symptoms that may necessitate gallbladder removal include severe pain in the right upper portion of your abdomen that can radiate to the middle of your abdomen, right shoulder, or back, fever and nausea.

Most patients will speak to a GP regarding their symptoms and will be referred to a specialist for further investigations. An ultrasound scan is probably the most accurate way of identifying gallstones. Your specialist may also recommend an MRI scan or endoscopic investigation to see if any stones are also located in the bile duct.


How long is the recovery from a Cholecystectomy?

It is normal to feel tired and a bit sore for a few days. With laparoscopic surgery, the pain can often be felt in the shoulders. Many people feel their appetite is poor. Your stomach may appear swollen for a couple of weeks, and this is all normal after the surgery.

You should plan to take two weeks off work. If your work involves heavy lifting, such as a care home assistant, you may need a phased return to full duties. Recovery after surgery varies from person to person with a few patients needing more than two weeks off work. If required, the hospital will supply a sick certificate for two weeks post-surgery.


Can I lead a normal life without a gallbladder?

You can lead a perfectly normal life without a gallbladder. The gallbladder is not essential to maintaining good health, and most people do not any difference, other than the fact you will no longer be in pain.

Often the gallbladder has already stopped working because of the gallstones. After the procedure, bile will continue to flow directly from the liver to the intestines.

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