Your surgeon may perform cholecystectomy if your bladder contains gallstones (cholelithiasis), is inflamed or infected (cholecystitis) or is cancerous.
There are two ways to remove the gallbladder.
One method uses a big incision (6 inches approximately) in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. Your surgeon then cuts through the fat and muscle and locates the gallbladder for removal. This method is called open cholecystectomy.
The other method is done using four smaller incisions through which laparoscopes (small thin tubes with video cameras attached to visualize the inside of the abdomen during the operation) are inserted. Your surgeon will perform the surgery while looking at a monitor. This method is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Please refer to the figure below.
Because laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a lesser invasive procedure compared to open cholecystectomy, you will have a faster recovery period and a shorter hospital stay.
Sometimes the surgeon can start a laparoscopic operation and end up having to revert to an ‘open’ surgery. This is usually done if the surgeon realizes that open surgery is safer for the patient (example: the gallbladder may appear severely diseased on laparoscopic examination or other complications may be apparent). Switching from laparoscopic to an open operation rarely happens.