This is the operation to remove the gallbladder using laparoscopic or keyhole technique.


Patients will be instructed to fast for 6 hours (nothing to eat or drink) prior to the operation.


The operation requires several small incisions into the abdomen to allow the insertion of surgical ‘scopes’. After the initial incisions the surgeon will inflate the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide, this allows good visualization of the abdominal organs.


A camera gives a magnified image from inside the abdomen displayed on a monitor. The surgeon watches the monitor and performs the operation by manipulating the surgical instruments through the small incisions.


An imaging test using contrast dye called intra-operative cholangiogram is also done to confirm the anatomy of the bile ducts.


At the end of the operation the carbon dioxide used to inflate the abdomen is removed and the wounds are closed with sutures that run beneath the skin and therefore do not need to be removed.



Post-operative Recovery


Patients usually stay in hospital overnight after the procedure to ensure comfort and stable condition for discharge.


Because the operation is laparoscopic the level of discomfort you experience should be less than with an open operation.


You may experience some mild to moderate shoulder tip pain (right or left side) this is referred pain due to some irritation from the operation.


This should settle within 48 hours and improve with oral pain relief, a gentle heat pack, lying down can also help relieve.


The wound dressings will be checked before you are discharged and changed if necessary, they are usually waterproof dressings that can be removed 3- 5 days later, you may shower as normal.


When the dressings are removed the wounds should be closed with no discharge, there maybe some minor bruising.


You maybe given other specific wound care instructions by nursing staff on discharge.


You should be able to tolerate a normal diet within a day or 2, have frequent small drinks until you feel like eating and avoid high fat foods.


You should be able to mobilise freely on discharge, increasing your activity, as you feel able.


As a guide you should be back to normal activities at 1 week, however post operative lethargy can often last for a month or more, avoid heavy lifting and over exertion.


The following exercises help prevent complications such as chest infections and blood clot in your legs. You should do these every hour while you are awake and resting in bed.


Breathing exercises 

Take five slow breaths in and out; think about getting the air to the very bottom of your lungs.


Circulation exercises

Firmly move your ankles up and down to stretch and contract your calf muscles.


Occasionally patients may require a small wound drain left in situ at the operation; this is removed easily before discharge from hospital.


Rarely the gallbladder may not be able to be removed using laparoscopic technique and may require conversion to an open operation.



Please contact our rooms or seek medical attention if you experience any of the following after discharge;


  • Increasing pain (not relieved with analgesia as prescribed)
  • redness, swelling or discharge from the wounds.
  • High temperature over 38.0 C
  • Nausea or vomiting which does not settle
  • Any other concerns.