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Gallstones - Surgery

Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) camera.gif is the treatment of choice for gallstones that cause moderate to severe pain or other symptoms. Symptoms usually do not return after the gallbladder has been removed. In a small number of cases, surgery may be done to prevent complications of gallstones.

Laparoscopic surgery is often the best method to remove the gallbladder. Open gallbladder surgery requires a longer recovery period and causes more pain.

Surgery may be done for:

Gallstones: Should I Have Gallbladder Surgery?

Surgery choices

Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is the most common surgery done to remove the gallbladder. In this type of surgery, a doctor inserts a lighted viewing instrument called a laparoscope and surgical tools into your abdomen through several small cuts (incisions). This type of surgery is very safe, and people who have it usually recover enough in about one week to go back to work or to their normal routines.

Open gallbladder surgery involves one larger incision through which the gallbladder is removed. It may be done if laparoscopic surgery is not an option or when complications are found during laparoscopic surgery. Most open surgeries occur after trying to do a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Open surgery also may be the best choice if the blood won't clot well, the anatomy is not normal, or there is too much scarring from previous surgery.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 05, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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