Cholecystectomy—Open Surgery

(Gallbladder Removal—Open Surgery)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Definition

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is near the liver. It stores bile that is made by the liver. Bile helps in the digestion of fatty foods. The gallbladder releases bile into a system of ducts that lead to the small intestine. The open version of this surgery is done when a less invasive version called laparoscopic surgery cannot be done.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy vs. Open Cholecystectomy
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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is used to remove a diseased or damaged gallbladder. The damage is typically caused by infection or inflammation. This is often due to gallstones, which are crystals of bile that can form in the gallbladder. Sometimes, these get stuck in the ducts that bile normally flows through. This blockage in the ducts can damage the gallbladder and the liver.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • Gallstones that have entered the abdominal cavity
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to other nearby structures or organs
  • Reactions to general anesthesia
  • Blood clots
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Increased age
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Malnutrition
  • Recent or chronic illness
  • Diabetes
  • Heart or lung problems
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Alcoholism and illegal drugs
  • Use of certain medications

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