Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder via single or multiple incisions in your abdomen. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located just below your liver on the upper side of the abdomen. It collects and stores bile, which is a fluid produced by the liver that passes through into the small intestine to help break down and absorb dietary fats. This plays a role in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
However, even without a gallbladder, normal digestion is possible.
Gallbladder removal is a treatment option, if:
Some symptoms that may specify the need for gallbladder removal are:
How Does Cholecystectomy Work?
Prior to Procedure: You may undergo certain tests to ensure that you’re healthy enough for the surgery. These may include:
After that, your surgeon will perform cholecystectomy using general anaesthesia. Anaesthesia is given through a vein in your arm, so you wouldn’t be aware during the procedure. Once the anaesthesia takes effect, your surgeon will perform the cholecystectomy using the either laparoscopic or open method.
During the Procedure: Depending upon your condition, your surgeon will perform one of two cholecystectomy methods:
|-||Open Cholecystectomy||Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy|
|Scaring||A six inches (15cm) scar||Four small incisions (minimal scaring)|
|Hospital Stay||3-4 days||A day or less|
|Full Recovery||4-6 weeks||1 week (faster recovery)|
|Wound Pain||Significant wound pain and may require patient-controlled analgesia for 2-3 days||Minimal discomfort and only mild painkillers (e.g. paracetamol) required|
The laparoscopic method is not suitable for everyone and there is a possibility that your surgery may start as laparoscopic cholecystectomy and then may need to be converted into open cholecystectomy.
Reasons for conversions to open cholecystectomy
Gallbladder removal will stop the pain and discomfort caused by gallstones. In most cases, gallbladder removal will also stop gallstones from recurring. Patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy can get back to work after a week. Those undergoing open cholecystectomy may need 4-5 weeks to fully recover.
Summary of the Treatment
|Procedure time||1-2 Hours|
|Back to home from the hospital|
|Common Risk & Complications||Bleeding, Infection, Blood clots, Injury to nearby structures such as bile ducts|
Statistics of Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder removal in the UK
In the UK, almost 70,000 cholecystectomies are performed each year (1).
How Much does Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder Removal Cost in the UK?
At private hospitals and clinics in the UK, a cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal typically costs between £5,094 and £7,175 (excluding initial consultation fees and X-ray charges).
Compare the Cost of Cholecystectomy in the UK.
The cost varies in different parts of the UK as described in the table below:
|City||Highest Price||Lowest Price||Details of Surveyed Hospitals|
Spire Bushey Hospital
Spire London East Hospital
The Alexandra Hospital
Euxton Hall Hospital
The Duchy Hospital
Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital
Ross Hall Hospital
BMI Albyn Hospital
Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital
Practice Plus Hospital Southampton
BMI Werndale Hospital
Spire Cardiff Hospital
Nuffield Bristol Hospital
Spire Bristol Hospital
The Edgbaston Hospital
West Midlands Hospital
Spire Norwich Hospital
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I live without my gallbladder?
Yes, your gallbladder simply stores bile. After your gallbladder is removed, your bile duct is still left intact and bile passes from your liver into the small intestine.
2. Do I need to schedule a cholecystectomy in advance?
In most cases, a cholecystectomy is planned in advance but in some cases emergency gallbladder removal is necessary.
3. Can I try other treatments before surgery?
Dietary changes can help manage symptoms such as cutting back on fatty foods. However, dietary changes don’t always aid to prevent gallbladder attacks. Your doctor will prescribe certain medications to dissolve gallstones if surgery isn’t an option for you. Medications can take months to work and there are still chances of gallstones recurring.
4. How can I take care of myself after gallbladder removal?
After surgery, do the following things to avoid complications and to help you recover:
- Try to take short daily walks to help prevent blood clots.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid lifting heavy things (more than 10 pounds) for at least four to six weeks.
- Consume high-fibre foods to regulate your bowel movement.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes to prevent rubbing against the incisions.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions about medications and taking care of your wounds.
Cholecystectomy is the most effective treatment for gallstones. It’s considered to be a safe procedure that prevents gallstones from recurring. We highly recommend you consult your healthcare provider as they can give you the best advice regarding the benefits and risks of surgery.