Gallbladder Removal - Laparoscopic - Outpatient

This surgery is done using long, thin instruments to remove the gallbladder. The instruments are inserted through small cuts in the abdomen.

This surgery is done using long, thin instruments to remove the gallbladder. The instruments are inserted through small cuts in the abdomen.

A laparoscopic gallbladder removal is surgery that uses long, thin medical instruments and a camera to remove the gallbladder. The instruments are inserted through several small cuts in the abdomen.

  • A special x-ray, called a cholangiogram, may be done to check for gallstones in the bile duct.
  • These stones could cause symptoms in the future, even if the gallbladder has been removed.

A gallbladder removal may be recommended if you have episodes of pain in your upper right abdomen (especially after eating) and tests indicate your gallbladder is not working the way it should.

  • Sometimes a surgeon cannot remove the gallbladder through one of the small incisions.
  • In those cases, the gallbladder will need to be removed through a larger incision. This incision can either be in the upper right or upper middle abdomen.

Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit as smoking can interfere with your recovery. The longer you are not smoking before surgery, the better your chances for a smooth recovery.

During your surgery, you will likely receive general anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free. With general anesthesia you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything. Other types of anesthesia may be used during this surgery, but they are less common.

  • You may go home the day of your surgery. However, some people need to stay in the hospital overnight.
  • Pain medication and help at home may be needed while you recover.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a laparoscopic gallbladder removal?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the surgery? Are there any alternatives?
  • Which gallbladder surgery is best for me? What are the benefits and risks of each?
  • Why are you recommending one particular surgery over another?
  • What is your experience in doing this type of surgery? What is your complication rate?
  • Is there any special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What type of anesthesia will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications for this surgery?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?

After your surgery, you should know what operation you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider after discharge. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.

  • Your surgeon should also tell your primary care physician about the details of your surgery and treatment plan.
  • Don’t forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility and help at home.

Some benefit plans recommend or require that members receive treatment for certain conditions (including cancer, bariatric surgery, bowel surgery, and heart procedures/surgeries) at a Center of Excellence (COE) facility.

  • If you have questions on COE benefits, call the number on your health plan ID card or go to and search under the extra programs section on the benefits and coverage tab.


Also known as:

Abdominal Pain
Gallbladder Removal - Laparoscopic
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
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