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What are the risks of gallbladder surgery?

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Quick Answer

The risks of gallbladder removal surgery include bile leak, bleeding, blood clots, heart problems, infection, injury to surrounding structures, pancreatitis, pneumonia, and death, explains Mayo Clinic. The likelihood of these complications occurring is small and largely depends on the overall health of the patient.

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Full Answer

The two types of gallbladder surgery are open cholecystectomy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy, states Mayo Clinic. During an open cholecystectomy, the surgeon makes a 6-inch incision on the right side of the abdomen around the site of the gallbladder. The area is held open, and the liver and gallbladder are visualized. The surgeon isolates the gallbladder, removes it and closes the area with sutures. The procedure takes between one to two hours and requires a two to three day hospital stay for recovery.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive procedure during which four holes are made in the abdomen, according to Mayo Clinic. A tubular camera is inserted into one hole and a live video feed is displayed on a monitor that the surgeon uses to perform the surgery. Surgical instruments are inserted into the other holes used to remove the gallbladder. After the procedure, the holes are closed with sutures and the patient is moved to recovery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes one to two hours and many patients go home on the same day.

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