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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) can treat complications from gallstones.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, more commonly known as a gallbladder removal operation, is a procedure to remove your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small organ that is positioned in the upper right part of your abdomen (tummy). It is responsible for storing and making bile (a fluid that is produced by your liver) more concentrated, which helps you digest your food.

Why might you need to have your gallbladder removed?

If your gallbladder becomes inflamed (cholecystitis) or contains gallstones, you might be advised to have your gallbladder removed through a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery).

Gallstones are small stones that can develop in your gallbladder. They are formed of cholesterol and can occur due to an imbalance in the bile that is stored by your gallbladder. In most cases, gallstones do not cause any symptoms and you might not be aware of their presence. However, gallstones can sometimes block your bile ducts (small tubes that connect your liver and gallbladder to your small bowel) or cause irritation in your gallbladder or pancreas (an organ in the upper part of your tummy). If a gallstone blocks one of your bile ducts, it can trigger severe abdominal pain. Your GP or a specialist might advise having gallbladder removal surgery to treat painful gallstones.

If your bile duct becomes permanently blocked by a gallstone, the level of bile inside your gallbladder can rise, causing infection and inflammation within your gallbladder. This is medically referred to as acute cholecystitis. You could experience symptoms, such as: a persistent pain in the upper right part of your tummy that can spread to your right shoulder, nausea, vomiting, a high temperature (a temperature that is 38C or above) and jaundice (a yellowing of your skin and the white areas of your eyes).

An infection or pain from acute cholecystitis (inflammation of your gallbladder) can be treated through pain relief medication and antibiotics. But you could be advised to have a gallbladder removal operation, also known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, to prevent inflammation in your gallbladder from reoccurring. As gallstones are also produced by your gallbladder, having surgery to remove your gallbladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) prevents gallstones from returning and causing pain or other complications.

At The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, your gallbladder removal operation will be carried out by our renowned team of General Surgeons. Our Consultant General Surgeons will investigate your symptoms, including the cause of your pain, perform any diagnostic assessments and discuss the best treatment option for you.

If you live in any of the regions around Greater Manchester, including Cheshire East, Stockport Trafford, or Tameside, our specialists at The Alexandra Hospital can help you access high-quality care.

Preparing for your laparoscopic cholecystectomy at The Alexandra Hospital

At your consultation at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, your Consultant General Surgeon will discuss your symptoms and perform a diagnostic scan, such as an ultrasound or an MRI scan, to examine your gallbladder in more detail. If you are diagnosed with gallstones or acute cholecystitis, your Consultant at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester will discuss your treatment options and what this could involve.

If you are advised to have a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) you will need to undergo a preoperative assessment to prepare for your operation. This will be carried out by a Nurse at The Alexandra Hospital. It will include a blood test and a health check to ensure that you are fit for surgery. At your assessment, your Consultant will provide you with further information about how to prepare for your gallbladder removal operation, including what happens on the day of your surgery. This will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions or share any concerns about your operation.

If you are overweight, your Consultant might advise you to lose weight to minimise your risk of experiencing complications following your gallbladder removal surgery. You could also be advised to quit smoking (if applicable) to reduce your risk of experiencing blood clots or a chest infection after your gallbladder removal operation.

Anaesthesia for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in Manchester

A cholecystectomy can be carried out through open surgery, where a single incision on your abdomen (tummy) is made to remove your gallbladder, or laparoscopic surgery,. which uses smaller incisions on your abdomen to remove your gallbladder. But regardless of whether you have an open cholecystectomy or laparoscopic cholecystectomy, both operations are carried out under general anaesthetic. 

Where are your laparoscopic cholecystectomy’s incisions made?

During your laparoscopic cholecystectomy at The Alexandra Hospital, your Consultant will make an incision (around two centimetres wide) near your navel (belly button). They will then create two or three smaller incisions (that are around one centimetre each) on the right side of your abdomen (tummy).

Your laparoscopic cholecystectomy: what to expect at The Alexandra Hospital

After these incisions have been made, your Consultant will fill your abdomen with air to allow a laparoscope (a thin telescope that contains a light and camera) to be passed into the larger incision near your belly button. This allows your Consultant to view and examine the inside of your abdomen (tummy) on a monitor. Your Consultant will then pass specialised surgical instruments through your other incisions to remove your gallbladder.

After your gallbladder has been removed, the air inside your abdomen will be released and the incisions on your tummy will be closed with stitches. These might be dissolvable stitches that do not need to be taken out, or non-dissolvable stitches, which will need to be removed at your next appointment with a specialist at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester.

A laparoscopy cholecystectomy at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester takes approximately an hour to perform. You should be able to go home on the same day of your operation.

The cost of having a laparoscopic cholecystectomy at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester will vary depending on your personal circumstances.

If you are advised to have laparoscopic cholecystectomy, this can cost from £6,978. However, if a laparoscopic surgery is not possible and your Consultant recommends having open surgery to remove your gallbladder (an open cholecystectomy) this can cost from £6,606.

These prices cover the cost of your gallbladder removal surgery, anaesthesia and aftercare.

The cost of your operation at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester can be paid through your private medical insurance or our flexible payment plans. For further information about how to pay for your treatment at our hospitals, please visit our in-depth payment options page.

After your laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you will be advised to avoid driving for at least 48 hours to allow the effects of your general anaesthetic to wear off. It is therefore recommended that you do not drive yourself to our hospital in Manchester, as you will not be able to drive yourself home after your surgery. Instead, you can ask a family member or friend to drive you to our hospital. If you are based in Greater Manchester or Cheshire East, The Alexandra Hospital can also be conveniently accessed through public transport.

If non-dissolvable stitches were used to close your incisions following your gallbladder removal surgery, your Consultant will arrange a follow-up appointment at The Alexandra Hospital to remove these stitches. This can be around seven to 10 days after your operation. But before you leave our hospital, your Consultant will explain how to take care of your stitches and wounds, including how to shower with your wounds and keep them clean.

Although you will often be discharged from The Alexandra Hospital on the same day of your surgery, it can take around two weeks for you to be able to return to your daily activities. After your gallbladder removal surgery at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, your Consultant will allow you to eat a few hours following your operation. You will also be allowed to perform gentle exercise such as walking.

But it might be a week after your gallbladder removal surgery that you can return to other activities, such as driving. It could take up to two weeks following your operation that you to are able to return to work. However, this depends on the type of work that you do — your Consultant at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester will explain the expected recovery timeline for your laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) in more detail and depending on your circumstances.

Can you lift after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

It is advised that you do not lift any heavy items for at least two weeks after your laparoscopic cholecystectomy. But you will be advised to remain active by going for walks to lower your risk of developing post-surgery complications such a chest infection or deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in your lower leg). 

Your diet after gallbladder removal surgery at The Alexandra Hospital

As mentioned before, you can often resume eating a few hours after your laparoscopic cholecystectomy. But you might prefer to start off with smaller meals. Following your gallbladder removal operation, you might be advised to consume a balanced diet, which will include fruit or vegetables, high-fibre carbohydrates such as bread or rice and some form of dairy (milk or yogurt) or protein (meat, fish or pulses).

If you are experiencing symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea or flatulence after your operation, you could benefit from making some changes to your diet. These dietary changes include avoiding caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or energy drinks, and foods that are high in fat or are spicy. You can also slowly increase your intake of fibre from fruits, vegetables or whole grain foods such as brown rice or wholegrain bread to treat these post-surgery symptoms.

After your gallbladder removal operation at The Alexandra Hospital, you could experience temporary side effects such as swelling, pain or bruising in or around the location of your incisions. These symptoms will begin to improve after a few days and you can take pain relief to minimise pain.

You might also feel nauseous after your laparoscopic cholecystectomy operation, which is a common side effect of receiving anaesthesia. This should pass as the effects of your anaesthetic wear off. The air that is used to fill your abdomen during your surgery can also cause temporary pain in your shoulders and tummy, but this will only last for a few days.

It is also possible to experience digestive complaints such as bloating, diarrhoea and passing wind more than normal, but following a balanced diet that is high fibre and eliminating spicy or fatty foods and caffeine can help prevent these symptoms from occurring.

If you are suffering from severe or persistent abdominal pain, our multidisciplinary team of specialists can investigate your symptoms using the latest diagnostic imaging equipment at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester. 

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your Consultant at The Alexandra Hospital will discuss the best treatment option for you, including the type of treatment that you might need, how to prepare for your treatment and the costs, benefits and risks involved.

As well as providing you with Consultant-led care, there are many benefits to having treatment at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, including:

  • Fast access to treatment;
  • Personalised high-quality care throughout your hospital stay;
  • En-suite hospital rooms, including a telephone and TV;
  • Convenient hospital access via public transport for patients based near Cheshire East and Greater Manchester boroughs such as Stockport, Trafford and Tameside, and
  • Free car parking onsite.

If you would like to learn more about having a private laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, you can speak to a member of our team by calling us on +44 1413 005 009 or book your appointment online today. 

Alternatively, if you would like to more about having an open cholecystectomy at The Alexandra Hospital, you can also contact our team by calling us directly or booking an appointment online. 

Specialists offering laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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Mr Bart Decadt

Consultant Laparoscopic Bariatric and Upper GI Surgeon

MD (Leuven, Belgium), MD (Norwich, UK), FRCSI, FRCS (Gen Surg)

The Highfield Hospital 1 more The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Professor Khursid Akhtar

Consultant General & Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon


The Alexandra Hospital

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Mr Mohammad Amir Sharif

Consultant Breast Surgeon


The Alexandra Hospital

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Mr Sajal Rai

Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon

MBBS, Masters in Surgery, MD, FRCS, FRCS (General Surgery)

The Alexandra Hospital

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Mr Finlay Curran

Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon

MBChB FRCS (Gen Sur.)

The Alexandra Hospital

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