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Gallbladder Keyhole Surgery - How It Works and Recovery

Updated on February 24, 2015
As attached as you are to your gallbladder, if it's more trouble than it's worth, it needs to go.
As attached as you are to your gallbladder, if it's more trouble than it's worth, it needs to go. | Source

Introduction

Gallstones can be a relatively common problem in older men and women. Although they do not always present symptoms and are often treatable without surgery, sometimes more drastic intervention is required. In these cases, the gallbladder will need to be removed and the least traumatic way of doing this is through keyhole surgery.

Keyhole surgery to remove a gallbladder is a common surgical procedure, designed to minimize the discomfort and risks to a patient and is often needed if other options to deal with gallstones have been exhausted. In this article we'll explore what happens during the procedure and what a patient can expect as they recover, including:

  • How keyhole surgery works
  • Advantages of keyhole gallbladder surgery
  • Recovering from keyhole gallbladder surgery

Advances in keyhole surgery mean minimal trauma to you during and after your gallbladder operation
Advances in keyhole surgery mean minimal trauma to you during and after your gallbladder operation | Source

How keyhole surgery works

Keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder is called 'Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy' and works as follows:


  1. The patient is anaesthetized
  2. Small incisions are made in a patient's abdomen by a surgeon.
  3. Plastic tubes called 'ports' are inserted into these incisions.
  4. A camera and various surgical instruments are inserted through the ports into the patient's abdomen.
  5. The surgeon uses the camera to locate the gallbladder.
  6. Once they find the gallbladder, they use the other instruments to remove it and internally suture the site.
  7. They remove the camera and instruments and suture up the incisions.
  8. The patient is moved to a recovery room to wake up.


This type of surgery is designed to cause the minimum amount of pain, discomfort, risk or complications for the patient.

Gallbladder surgery for gallstones

Advantages of keyhole gallbladder surgery

The advantages of this type of surgery are:

  • Less pain following the operation.
  • Minimal internal and external scarring.
  • Faster post-operative recovery.
  • Less risk of complications from infections, blood loss or other factors (less than a 2% risk).
  • A shorter stay in the hospital.

You don't need to be sentimental about your missing gallbladder
You don't need to be sentimental about your missing gallbladder | Source

Recovering from keyhole gallbladder surgery

Recovery from this surgery is normally as follows:

  • Patients can have this type of surgery as part of a very short hospital stay of one or two days.
  • They can expect to be sore after the operation for around a week (compared to three to six weeks for traditional, 'open' surgery).
  • Patients should be able to return to light work and other mild activity after around a week.
  • Patients should be able to return to normal activities in around two to four weeks.

Because the surgery isn't massively invasive, recovery is normally fairly swift
Because the surgery isn't massively invasive, recovery is normally fairly swift | Source

Have you had or are you considering gallbladder surgery?

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In closing

Keyhole gallbladder surgery is the least invasive way to remove the gallbladder and may be recommended if a patient suffers from significant pain or other issues due to gallstones. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a straightforward procedure and patients will normally be able to leave hospital in a day or two and make a full recovery in less than a month.

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