What is Open cholecystectomy?

By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor

Know the basics

What is Open cholecystectomy?

Gallstones are ‘stones’ that form in your gallbladder. They are common and can run in families. The risk of developing gallstones increases as you get older and if you eat a diet rich in fat.

For some people gallstones can cause severe symptoms, with repeated attacks of abdominal pain being the most common.

Why is Open cholecystectomy performed?

If you have painful gallstones, it is recommended that your gallbladder is removed.

Understand the risks

What are the risks of Open cholecystectomy?

It is performed through several small incisions rather than through one large incision. If you have previously had surgery in the area of your gallbladder, if you tend to bleed a lot or if you have any problem that would make it hard for your doctor to see your gallbladder, an laparoscopic surgery may be better for you. Your doctor will decide which type of surgery is best for you.

Are there any alternatives to a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

It is possible to dissolve the stones or even shatter them into small pieces but these techniques involve unpleasant drugs that have side effects and a high failure rate.

Antibiotics can be used to treat any infections of your gallbladder. Eating a diet low in fat may help to prevent attacks of pain.

However, these alternatives will not cure the condition and symptoms are likely to come back.

It is important you understand the risks and complications before having this surgery. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Know what happens

How do I prepare for Open cholecystectomy?

You should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test.

You may need to stop taking medications, including narcotic pain relievers, on or before the day of the exam. You should not change or stop taking any medications without first talking to your health care provider.

Following any other instructions for how to prepare for the procedure is also important.

What happens during Open cholecystectomy?

What happens during laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour.

Your surgeon will make a cut on your upper abdomen and free up your cystic duct and artery. They will separate your gallbladder from your liver, and remove it.

What would I do after receiving the operation?

You should be able to go home after two to four days.

You should be able to return to work after about six weeks, depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

You should make a full recovery and be able to return to normal activities.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.


What happens after Open cholecystectomy?

Complications may include bleeding, infection and injury to the duct (tube) that carries bile from your gallbladder to your stomach. Also, during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the intestines or major blood vessels may be injured when the instruments are inserted into the abdomen. All of these complications are rare. Other specific complications are:

  • Leaking of bile or stones
  • Retained stones
  • Continued pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Inflammation of the lining of your abdomen
  • Chest infection
  • Bile duct injury
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bowel injury
  • Continued bowel paralysis
  • Serious damage to your liver

You can reduce your risk of complications by carefully following your doctor’s instructions for preparing for endoscopy, such as fasting and stopping certain medications.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 1, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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