What is a Cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is a surgery to remove your gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small organ under your liver. It is on the upper right side of your belly (abdomen). The gallbladder stores a digestive juice called bile that is made in the liver.

There are 3 types of surgery to remove the gallbladder.

  • Open (traditional) method. In this method, 1 cut (incision) about 4 to 6 inches long is made in the upper right-hand side of your belly. The surgeon finds the gallbladder and takes it out through the incision.
  • Laparoscopic method. This method uses 3 to 4 very small incisions. It uses a long, thin tube called a laparoscope. The tube has a tiny video camera and surgical tools. The tube, camera, and tools are put in through the incisions. The surgeon does the surgery while looking at a TV monitor. The gallbladder is removed through 1 of the incisions. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive. That means it uses very small incisions in your belly. There is less bleeding. And the recovery time is usually shorter than open surgery. In some cases, the laparoscope may show that your gallbladder is very diseased. Or it may show other problems. Then the surgeon may have to use an open surgery method to remove your gallbladder safely.
  • da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System.   Utilizing a sophisticated robotic platform designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities and offer a state-of-the-art minimally invasive option for major surgery is another option for qualified candidates.

With the da Vinci® Xi™, small incisions are used to insert miniaturized wristed instruments and a high-definition 3D camera. Seated comfortably at the da Vinci console, your surgeon views a magnified, high-resolution 3D image of the surgical site inside your body.  At the same time, the latest robotic and computer technologies scale, filter and seamlessly translate the surgeon’s hand movements into precise micro-movements of the da Vinci instruments.  Although it is often called a “robot”, the da Vinci® Xi™ System cannot move or operate on its own; your surgeon is 100% in control.

For qualified candidates, da Vinci® surgery offers numerous potential benefits over traditional surgery, including:

•  Shorter hospital stay •  Less blood loss •  Fewer complications •  Less need for narcotic pain medicine •  Smaller incision for minimal scarring •  Faster recovery

Why might I need a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy may be done if your gallbladder:

  • Has lumps of solid material (gallstones)
  • Is red or swollen (inflamed) or infected (cholecystitis)
  • Is cancerous

Gallbladder problems may cause pain which:

  • Is usually on the right side or middle of your upper belly
  • May be constant or may get worse after a heavy meal
  • May sometimes feel more like fullness than pain
  • May be felt in your back and in the tip of your right shoulder blade

Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The symptoms of gallbladder problems may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure. Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a cholecystectomy.

What are the risks of a cholecystectomy?

Some possible complications of a cholecystectomy may include: 

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to the tube (bile duct) that carries bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine
  • Liver injury
  • Scars and a numb feeling at the incision site
  • A bulging of organ or tissue (hernia) at the incision site

For more information about Baptist Health Corbin’s surgical services, click here.