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Gallbladder removal surgery (laparoscopic cholecystectomy)

Gallbladder removal surgery is recommended when gallstones have formed and are causing health complications (such as abdominal pain). Book online today.

What is a cholecystectomy?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy involves the surgical removal of the gall bladder. This is usually recommended when gallstones have formed and are causing health complications (such as abdominal pain).  

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are ‘stones’ that form in the gallbladder. They are quite common but increase with age and in people who eat a diet rich in fat.

In some people, gallstones can cause severe symptoms with repeated attacks of abdominal pain being the most common. (see fig.1)

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should be free of pain and able to eat a normal diet. Surgery should also prevent the serious complications that gallstones can cause.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

It is possible to dissolve the stones or even shatter them into small pieces but these techniques involve unpleasant drugs and side effects, have a high failure rate and the gallstones usually come back.

Antibiotics can be used to treat any infections of the gallbladder. A low-fat diet may help to prevent attacks of pain.

However, symptoms are likely to come back.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour.

The laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) technique is usually used. Your surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen. They will place surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

Your surgeon will free up the gallbladder duct (cystic duct) and artery. They will then separate the gallbladder from the liver and remove it.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots

Specific complications of this operation:

a. Laparoscopic complications

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Surgical emphysema

b. Cholecystectomy complications

  • Leaking of bile or stones
  • Retained stones
  • Persistent pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Inflammation in the abdomen
  • Bile duct injury
  • Bowel injury
  • Serious damage to the liver

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home later on the same day.

You should be able to return to work after two to four weeks but this may vary depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

You should make a full recovery and be able to eat a normal diet.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy summary

Gallstones are a common problem. An operation to remove your gallbladder should result in you being free of pain and able to eat a normal diet. Surgery should also prevent the serious complications that gallstones can cause.

Paying for your operation

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Acknowledgements Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.) Illustrations: Hannah Ravenscroft RM This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Copyright © 2008 EIDO Healthcare Limited The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

The surgery cost of gallbladder removal through keyhole surgery

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £6,978 N/A £6,978
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £7,178

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

The surgery cost of gallbladder removal through keyhole surgery with an X-ray 

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £6,932 N/A £6,932
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £7,132

Specialists offering Gallbladder removal surgery (laparoscopic cholecystectomy)

Mr Peter Kang

Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal and General Surgeon

MBChB, MRCS, FRCS GenSurg, PGCME

BMI Three Shires Hospital

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Prof Douglas McWhinnie

Consultant Vascular & General Surgeon

MBChB, MD, FRCS

BMI The Saxon Clinic

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Mr Abdul Qadir

Consultant Gastrointestinal & General Surgeon

MB BS MD FRCS(Gen Surg) FACS

BMI Albyn Hospital

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Mr Khalid Canna

Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal and General Surgeon

M.B,CH.B, FRCS, MD

BMI The Manor Hospital

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Mr Shaun Appleton

Consultant General and Gastrointestinal Surgeon

MB BS, MS, FRCS

BMI The Chiltern Hospital 1 more BMI The Shelburne Hospital

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