Gallbladder surgery may be performed to treat gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder or inflammation of the pancreas, according to Mayo Clinic. In some instances, gallstones may block the bile duct, requiring the gallbladder to be removed.
Surgeons performing gallbladder surgery, use either laparoscopic or open cholecystectomy. During the laparoscopic operation, it may be necessary for the surgeon to switch to the open procedure, which is more invasive and leaves a larger scar, states Mayo Clinic. While the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure is most common, it is not appropriate for all patients.
Surgeons use general anesthesia for both procedures, with the anesthesiologist injecting the medication through an IV in the arm of the patient. While laparoscopic patients often go home the same day of the surgery, those undergoing the open cholecystectomy usually remain in the hospital for two to three days. Recovery from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy typically takes about one week, while the open procedure requires up to six weeks for full recovery.
While changes in diet may lessen the painful symptoms of gallstones; surgery is the only definitive cure to keep them from recurring, according to Mayo Clinic. Mild diarrhea is a common side effect of the procedure; most patients do not experience digestive problems after cholecystectomy.