Gallbladder removal

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Gallbladder removal, also known as a cholecystectomy, is an operation to remove your gallbladder to treat gallstones


Gallstones are small stones that form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder stores bile to help you digest fats in food. To treat gallstones, your gallbladder can be removed using keyhole surgery. You can live without a gallbladder and your liver will still make bile. 

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Gallbladder removal is usually done as keyhole surgery but sometimes open surgery is needed. You'll be given a general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make three or four small cuts in your abdomen. They'll insert a long thin telescope with a light and video camera at the end (laparoscope). They'll then insert special instruments through the other cuts and remove your gallbladder. To finish, your consultant will then close your cuts with dissolvable stitches. The procedure usually takes between one and two hours. Alternatively, the operation can also be done through a single cut (single incision laparoscopic surgery).
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you. Your surgeon will explain how to prepare and what will happen when you have surgery. They'll ask you not to eat or drink anything for a set time before your procedure. Make sure you let them know about any medicines you're currently taking. You should arrange to have someone take you home after the procedure.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Most people are able to leave hospital within two hours of a gallbladder removal operation. You shouldn't need to stay overnight. You might have some swelling and bruising in the area for a couple of weeks but this will improve.

Our consultants

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Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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