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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

What is laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the removal of the entire gallbladder and gallstones via the laparoscope camera and tiny incisions. This is a minimally invasive surgical technique.

How is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy done?

Once under general anaesthesia, a laparoscope, which is a narrow tube with a camera, will be inserted through a small incision in the navel to view the internal organs on a screen. Through other thin tubes, narrow tools are added to separate the gallbladder and remove it delicately. 

Gallbladder stones are removed with the entire gallbladder. The small incisions are then closed with absorbable stitches or skin staples.

Why would a laparoscopic cholecystectomy be done?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery is done when you have stones (gallstones) in your gallbladder, these stones cause pain, or when these stones cause further complications, i.e. bile flow blockage, infection, etc.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Patients with mild Gallbladder disease (stones, minimal inflammation) can be discharged on the same day. Moderate inflammation – two days (most common). Severe inflammation which requires any other intervention (e.g. open surgery) – up to five days.

How soon you will be discharged from hospital depends on whether you are able to drink liquids when waking up, how much pain you have and whether you have someone to look after you at home.

What will happen after laparoscopic surgery?

Following a laparoscopic cholecystectomy you may experience the following:

  • Pain in your upper abdomen.
  • Pain in one or both of your shoulders.
  • A sore throat from the breathing tube.
  • Nausea and vomiting up to 2 days after surgery.
  • Diarrhoea up to 8 weeks after your surgery.
  • Bruising around your incisions.
  • Red skin around your wounds.

All these symptoms are normal and are nothing to be concerned about. Re-consult if you have an unusually high temperature, drainage from the incisions, experiencing excessive pain, or if jaundice occurs as emergency care may be needed. Approximately three weeks after your operation you will be seen by your surgeon to check your wound.

How soon after the surgery can I resume normal activities?

You will be able to resume normal activities soon after your surgery; however, it is important to start slowly. If you experience pain during certain activities, stop that activity. You may not do any heavy lifting or vigorous physical activity for at least two weeks after your laparoscopic surgery. You may return to physical exercise only once you have been to your follow-up consult, three weeks after surgery.

What are the potential risks of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

The risk of complications during laparoscopic surgery is very low; however, there are risks involved in any surgery, and the following complications can occur:

  • Infection of the wound or internal infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Bile leakage occurs in up to 1% of laparoscopic cholecystectomies.
  • Damage to the bile duct.
  • Damage to the intestine, bowel and blood vessels can occur in about 1 in 1000 cases.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots.
  • Risks from the general anaesthetic.
  • Post-cholecystectomy syndrome.

endoscopic and-laparoscopic surgery
endoscopic and-laparoscopic procedures

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