Of all surgical procedures for which laparoscopy is an option, cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) is the most widely recognised and accepted. Where there is inflammation and infection in the gallbladder (cholecystitis) early removal of the gallbladder may be indicated. Using advanced laparoscopic technology, it is now possible to remove the gallbladder through tiny incisions in the front of the abdomen.
Indications for laparoscopic gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) may include:
- Complications such as jaundice, pancreatitis
- Cecurrent pain or vomiting
- If the patient suffers from cholangitis
What are the benefits?
The main benefit of this procedure is that it is minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery generally means less pain and faster recovery. There is relatively little incision pain compared to standard abdominal surgery. As a result, the recovery time is much quicker.
Is laparoscopy always advised?
There are a few instances when laparoscopic surgery is not preferable to conventional surgery for cholecystectomy but the majority of patients are suitable for a laparoscopic procedure.
Risks & complications
Like any abdominal surgery, laparoscopic cholecystectomy carries some risks however these are relatively infrequent.
Complications are rare and may include:
- Bleeding & infection may occur but is rare with experienced surgeons.
- In a few cases, the gallbladder cannot be safely removed by laparoscopy. Standard open abdominal surgery is then immediately performed.
- Nausea and vomiting may occur after the surgery.
- Injury to the bile ducts, blood vessels, or intestine can occur, requiring corrective surgery.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in Australia. With experienced surgical teams, complications are uncommon and most patients will return to relatively normal activities within one to two weeks.