Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Of all surgical procedures for which laparoscopy is an option, cholecystectomy – gallbladder removal – is the most widely recognised and accepted.

A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Using advanced laparoscopic technology, it is now possible to remove the gallbladder through a tiny incisions in front of the abdomen.

A specialist trained in laparoscopic procedure will recognise any adjunct problems encountered, and be in a position to deal with them.

Indications for Laparoscopic Gall Bladder removal (Cholecystectomy)

  • If an attack hasn't settled after 12 hours
  • If there are complications such as jaundice, pancreatitis
  • If patient suffers recurrent pain vomiting
  • If patient suffers cholangitis

What are the Benefits?

The main benefit of this procedure is that it is minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery means “Lesser Pain” and “Faster Recovery”.

There is no incision pain as occurs with standard abdominal surgery. So the recovery time is much quicker. Also, there is no scar on the abdomen.

Is laparoscopy always advised?

There are very few instances when laparoscopic surgery is not preferable to conventional surgery for cholecystectomy. This is especially true when the surgical and nursing team is well experienced in the procedures and post-operative care.

The only real contraindication is if the anaesthetic risk is too high. Other, lesser contraindications – such as during the first trimester of pregnancy – need not pose a problem to the experienced laparoscopic surgeon.

  • Obesity - there are fewer post-operative complications with laparoscopic surgery
  • Previous surgery - adhesions can be dealt with successfully
  • Common bile duct stones can be removed by laparoscopy, or by ERCP
  • Severe cholecystitis is best dealt with acutely - one operation and recovery period - and can be done safely with laparoscopic technique

Risks & Complications

Like any abdominal surgery, Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy carries some risks. Even though infrequent, it still carries the same risks as general surgery. Current medical reports indicate that the low complication rate is about the same for this procedure as for standard gallbladder surgery.

Complications are rare and may include:

  • Conversion to open surgery
  • Injury to the bile ducts
  • Leakage of bile
  • General risks as for any operation
  • Bleeding & infection may occur but is rare with experienced surgeons
  • In a few cases, the gallbladder cannot be safely removed by laparoscopy. Standard open abdominal surgery is then immediately performed
  • Nausea and vomiting may occur after the surgery
  • Injury to the bile ducts, blood vessels, or intestine can occur, requiring corrective surgery
  • Obesity Surgery Society of Australia & New Zeland
  • The International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus
  •  Australia &New Zeland Gastric & Oesophageal Surgery Association
  • Epworth Healthcare
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons