Open gallbladder removal is surgery to remove the gallbladder through a large cut in your abdomen.
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. To do this test, dye is injected into your common bile duct and an x-ray is taken. The dye helps find stones that may be outside your gallbladder. It also helps identify the branches of the bile duct. If other stones are found, the surgeon may remove them with a special instrument.
The surgery takes about 1 hour.
You may need gallbladder removal surgery if you have pain or other symptoms from gallstones. You may also need surgery if your gallbladder is not working normally.
You may have some or all of these symptoms:
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 performed 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 of anesthesia are:
Risks of gallbladder surgery are:
Your doctor may ask you to have these medical tests done before surgery:
Tell your doctor or nurse:
During the week before surgery:
On the day of surgery:
Prepare your home for any problems you might have getting around after the surgery.
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 when you leave the hospital.
Most patients recover quickly and have good results from this procedure.
Cholecystectomy - open
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.
Gurusamy KS. Surgical treatment of gallstones. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2010;39:229-244.
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.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Services, Little Rock, AR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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