What happens

You'll need to have a preoperative assessment in hospital during the weeks leading up to your gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy).

During this appointment:

Find out more about having an operation

Get advice about going into hospital

Types of gallbladder removal surgery

There are 2 main ways gallbladder removal surgery can be performed:

Both procedures are performed under general anaesthetic (where you're asleep) and both are equally effective.

But keyhole surgery tends to be carried out whenever possible because you can leave hospital sooner, recover faster and are left with smaller scars.

Keyhole surgery

During keyhole gallbladder removal surgery:

You can usually go home later the same day. Recovery typically takes about 2 weeks.

Find out more about recovering from gallbladder removal surgery

Open surgery

An open procedure may be recommended if you can't have keyhole surgery – for example, because you have a lot of scar tissue from previous surgery on your tummy.

It's also sometimes necessary to turn a keyhole procedure into an open one during the operation if your surgeon is unable to see your gallbladder clearly or remove it safely.

Your surgeon can explain why they feel an open procedure is best for you. If you're due to have keyhole surgery, the risk of it becoming an open procedure should be discussed beforehand.

During open gallbladder removal surgery:

You'll usually need to stay in hospital for a few days afterwards.

Recovery typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2019
Next review due: 1 August 2019