Cholecystectomy for Gallbladder Removal

What is a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, an organ located just under the liver on the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, a substance produced by the liver and used to break down fat for digestion.

Types of cholecystectomies

The gallbladder may be removed in one of two ways: 

Open method – In this method, a two- to three-inch incision is made in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. The surgeon locates the gallbladder and removes it through the incision. Laparoscopic method. This procedure uses at least three to four small incisions and three or more laparoscopes—small thin tubes with video cameras attached—to visualize the inside of the abdomen during the operation. The surgeon performs the surgery while looking at a TV monitor. The gallbladder is removed through one of the incisions. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered less invasive and generally requires a shorter recovery time than an open cholecystectomy. Occasionally, the gallbladder may appear severely diseased on laparoscopic examination or other complications may be apparent, and the surgeon may have to perform an open surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder safely. Reasons for the procedure A cholecystectomy may be performed if the gallbladder contains gallstones (cholelithiasis), is inflamed or infected (cholecystitis), or is cancerous. 

Gallbladder inflammation or infection may cause pain which may be described as follows: Is generally located on the right side of the upper abdomen May be constant or may become more severe after a heavy meal At times, may feel more like fullness than pain May be experienced in the back and in the tip of the right shoulder blade Other symptoms of gallbladder inflammation or infection include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The symptoms of gallbladder problems may resemble other medical conditions or problems. In addition, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis. There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a cholecystectomy.