What is a Cholecystectomy?
This is a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder (that may or may not contain gall stones) using an instrument called a laparoscope (camera). You do not need a gallbladder, so surgery to take it out is often recommended if you develop any problems with it.
What happens during a Cholecystectomy?
There are 2 main ways of removing a gallbladder:
• Laparoscopic (Keyhole): small incisions are made in your tummy (abdomen) and fine surgical instruments are used to access and remove your gallbladder.
• Open Cholecystectomy: A single larger incision is made in your tummy to access and remove your gallbladder. If the gallbladder is inflamed and/or difficult to remove the operation will convert to an open operation. Should this occur, you will be transferred to an inpatient ward requiring an overnight stay, and will be discharged from there accordingly.
To prevent pain or to prevent further attacks of pancreatitis or jaundice
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications from the surgery and from the anaesthetic. The risk is small however, and may include the following:
Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the calf of the leg) which can detach and travel to the lung. You will be given stockings to wear to help prevent this.
• Bleeding may occur from the wound site. If bleeding occurs, light pressure should be applied. If bleeding persists, seek medical advice immediately.
• There is a possibility of wound infection. Please seek medical advice if the wound shows any signs of infection (redness, inflammation, severe pain etc.)
• Bile leaking into the tummy
• Damage to the bile ducts that carry bile out of the liver
Before you Arrive
Before your anaesthetic, we need to know about your general health, and an appointment will be made to attend a pre-assessment clinic where a healthcare assistant and a pre-assessment nurse specialist will assess you. An anaesthetist may also need to assess you at a later date, and any tests which may be required will be arranged.
Prior to your admission, you will have been advised when to stop taking diet and fluids, which will be discussed at your pre-assessment/written on your admission letter.
Please have a shower or a bath before coming to the hospital.
We request that you do not wear any jewellery (except for a plain banded wedding ring).
Please bring any regular medications with you, a dressing gown, slippers, and a book or magazine to read. Please leave all valuables at home.
What will happen when I come in for my surgery?
Please report to the reception desk on the ward.
You will be asked to wait in the designated waiting area to be admitted to the ward. Baseline observations will be recorded.
Please tell the nurse who is admitting you if there are any medical changes or any changes to your social circumstances.
You will be asked to wear a theatre gown (a locker is provided for your personal belongings).
The surgeon will come see you and take written consent for your operation. You will be offered the white copy of the consent form. An anaesthetist will also see you to discuss your general health and risks of anaesthetic.
You will wait for your surgery in a single-sex seated area.
When it is time for your operation, you will be escorted to theatre.
After Your Surgery
Following your general anaesthetic, you will wake up in the recovery area of theatre.
When you are fully awake, you will be transferred back to the ward, which may be a seated area. Light refreshments will be provided when appropriate.
A dressing will cover the stitches or clips (surgical glue may also be used) to protect the wound.
You may feel some discomfort, if so the nursing staff will give you prescribed pain relief on request. You may also feel some abdominal bloating due to the gas used in theatre during your operation.
When you are adequately recovered, the nurse will provide you with discharge advice, answer any questions that you may wish to ask, and will arrange for you to go home.
Keep the wound clean and dry for 48 hours. You may then shower or bathe, depending on your consultant.
You will need to take 2-4 weeks off work following your surgery. Please ask for a sick note on admission if you require one. You will not be able to do any lifting or strenuous activity for 2-6 weeks.
Following a General Anaesthetic
An adult is required to escort you home and care for you for 24 hours after your operation, in case you experience any problems.
Please do not cook, use heavy machinery, care for children alone, or sign any legal binding documents for the first 24 hours. Please do not drive for at least 2 weeks or otherwise advised.
You may experience some headaches and nausea, but this is a common effect of an anaesthetic
Association of Anaesthetics of Great Britain & Ireland: Day Case Surgery: (2019)
• National Institute of health and Care Excellence (NICE)
• https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gallbladder-removal (2018)
Contact Details within the Trust for Patients to Obtain Additional Information
Diana Princess of Wales Hospital
Day Surgery Unit – Ward B4
Monday – Friday 08:00 – 20:00
Tel: 03033 303877
Scunthorpe General Hospital
Day Surgery Unit – Ward 2
Monday – Friday 08:00 – 20:00
Tel: 01724 290195 or 03033 302775
Goole & District Hospital
Day Surgery Unit – Ward 7
Monday – Friday 08:00 – 20:00
Tel: 03033 304119
Your own GP or out of hours, NHS 111, or in an extreme emergency A&E department.
Any Comments, Compliments, Concerns or Complaints
If you have any other concerns please talk to your nurse, therapist or doctor. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is available on 03033 306518 (Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole). You can also contact nlg-tr.PALS@nhs.net
As a Trust we value equality of access to our information and services, therefore alternative formats are available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of issue: March 2021
Review date: March 2024