Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder by minimally invasive surgery. It is one of the commonest surgical procedures performed today.

The gall bladder is a small pear shaped organ located just below the liver in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. It stores bile, a digestive fluid that helps to break down fatty foods. Gallstones are the most commonly occurring disorder of the gallbladder.

Some of the common symptoms of gallstones are pain, fever, jaundice, vomiting and nausea. If the symptoms worsen your condition, then your doctor will recommend a cholecystectomy, which is either performed laparoscopically, or through open surgery. This involves removal of the gall bladder to prevent further complications from gallstones.

In this procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen. Through one of the incisions a laparoscope, a small fibreoptic tube with a tiny camera, is inserted into the abdomen. Special surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions to remove the gallbladder. Through this approach, your surgeon will be able to view the surgery on a screen. For more information, click here.

During this procedure, cholangiography (X-ray of the bile duct) may be undertaken to assess the common bile duct for any abnormalities. Some of the possible complications after cholecystectomy include bleeding, wound infection, bile leakage into the abdomen, and injury to the bile duct. When the cholecystectomy is carried out by the laparoscopic approach, the principles remain the same as the open operation. If the procedure cannot be carried out laparoscopically for whatever reason, be it unclear anatomy or bleeding, the operation may be converted to an open procedure at the same sitting.

Open or traditional surgery: This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, and your surgeon makes a single large incision in your abdomen. Surgical instruments are inserted through this incision, muscles and tissues are pulled apart to expose liver and gallbladder, and then the gallbladder is removed. Later the incision is sutured and you need to be in the hospital for a few days, before being discharged home. These days, it is unusual for your surgeon to recommend this procedure in the first instance over a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. However, there is a role for open surgery e.g. when there is a history of multiple operations on the abdomen, causing adhesions with the bowel, making the laparoscopic procedure not only difficult, but unsafe.