Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)

Cholecystectomy (koh-luh-sis-TEK-tuh-me) is a surgical procedure to remove your gallbladder — a pear-shaped organ that sits just below your liver on the upper right side of your abdomen. Your gallbladder collects and stores bile — a digestive fluid produced in your liver.

Cholecystectomy may be necessary if you experience pain from gallstones that block the flow of bile. Cholecystectomy is a common surgery, and it carries only a small risk of complications. In most cases, you can go home the same day of your cholecystectomy.

Cholecystectomy is most commonly performed by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder. Doctors call this laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In some cases, one large incision may be used to remove the gallbladder. This is called an open cholecystectomy.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Cholecystectomy is used to treat gallstones and the complications they cause. Your doctor may recommend cholecystectomy if you have:

  • Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis)
  • Gallstones in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis)
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis)

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