On average, gallbladder surgery, known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, lasts about 90 minutes, according to the University of California-San Diego Health System. This type of surgery uses four small incisions, a small endoscope and minuscule cutting tools to remove the gallbladder completely.
The procedure almost always takes less than two hours, notes WebMD. The surgeon inserts a lighted scope into an incision near the bellybutton and other surgical tools through other small incisions. The video camera at the end of the laparoscope transmits images to a video monitor so that the surgeon can see where the tools must go before removing the gallbladder. Scans give surgeons the precise locations of bile ducts during the procedure.
More than 90 percent of cholecystectomies are performed laparoscopically, and the success rate is nearly 100 percent, according to UCSD. The most common reason for this surgery is to prevent future gallstones that cause pain to the patient and affect other parts of the body.
Generally, patients need six weeks to recover fully and resume normal activities. The area may be sore for a few days following surgery, and patients should not drive for a couple days, especially if they take narcotic pain pills. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, and patients recover faster as compared to surgery that requires larger incisions or moving muscle walls, notes UCSD.