Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the method in which the gallbladder is removed by the laparoscopic technique. The gallbladder is removed through a 5 to 8 inch long incision, or cut, in the patient's abdomen. During an open cholecystectomy, the cut is made just below the ribs on the right side and goes to just below the waist. This particular surgery is performed through several small incisions rather than through one large incision, usually 4 incisions, each one inch or less in length.

What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery performed with the assistance of a video camera and few other thin instruments. During a laparoscopic surgery, small incisions of up to half an inch are made and plastic tubes called ports are placed through these incisions. The camera and the instruments are then inserted in these ports which allows the surgeon to access the images of the internal organs of the patient's body which the surgeon will not be able to without performing a large incision. The camera inserted through the port projects images of the internal organs helps to become the doctors eye and perform the surgery.

What are the benefits of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy compared with an Open Cholecystectomy?

  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy requires a much shorter span to recover and get bacj to work sooner since the incisions are small unlike in an open surgery which takes longer time to heal because the muscles of ther abdomen needs to be cut.
  • There isn't as much pain after this laparoscopic cholecystectomy as after open cholecystectomy because the incisions are small in the former.
  • With laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the patient probably will only have to stay in the hospital for a few hours or overnight. With open cholecystectomy, the patient would have to stay in the hospital for about five days.
  • There may be less internal scarring when the procedures are performed in a minimally invasive fashion compared to open cholecystectomy surgery.

Complications involved in a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a very safe surgery having recorded a 98% success rate in medical history. Complications though are rare and if performed by a properly trained surgeon is reduced to nil but in the worst cases may include bleeding, infection, leakage of bile in the abdomen, pneumonia, blood clots, or heart problems.

Surgical injury to an adjacent structures such as the common bile duct, duodenum or the small intestine may occur rarely and may require another surgical procedure to repair it. If the gallbladder is accidentally or deliberately opened during the procedure stones may fall out of the gallbladder and in to the abdomen that may give rise to later scarring.

How long does it take to recover?

Patients are expected to recover and get back to work within a week's time. After a rest for about 7 to 10 days the patient may perform his/her daily activities which includes driving, walking up stairs, light lifting and work. Activity is dependent on how the patient feels. Walking is also encouraged. It depends on the nature of your job since patients who perform manual labor or heavy lifting may require two to four weeks of recovery.


Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad