Cholecystectomy, laparoscopic

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.

Cholecystectomy laparoscopic 

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.

Pricing

Keyhole removal of gallbladder

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £6,026 N/A £6,026
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £6,226
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £6,026
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees Included
Total £6,226

Keyhole removal of gallbladder with x-ray

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £6,012 N/A £6,012
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £6,212
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £6,012
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees Included
Total £6,212

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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