Project Description

Gallbladder Surgery

Gallbladder Surgery

Your gallbladder is a small pear-shaped pouch in the upper right part of your abdomen, which stores bile (a digestive fluid that helps to break down fatty food) produced by the liver. Bile is carried from your gallbladder to your intestine through a tube called the bile duct.

Gallstones (small, hard stones) can develop if the bile gets too concentrated. These can block the bile duct, resulting in abdominal pain, nausea and fever. If these symptoms persist, removal of the gallbladder is often required.


Persistent abdominal pain, nausea and fever because of a blocked bile duct

Surgical options

A gallbladder operation is almost always done using keyhole surgery, a procedure also known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This means your surgeon can remove your gallbladder without having to make a large cut on your abdomen. Some people may need open surgery however, and your surgeon will explain which method is most suitable for you.

The operation is done under general anaesthetic and takes between 60 and 90 minutes. Average recovery time is 7 to 10 days but this is an active recovery. No bed rest!

Sub-Total Cholecystectomy is often done in the emergency setting to minimise risk and involves leaving the back wall of the gallbladder in situ. This is a safe alternative to open surgery which is difficult to recover from.

Bile Duct Exploration is an operation to remove a stone that has become lodged in the bile duct. This is usually carried out in the same setting as the gallbladder operation but is occasionally deferred and retrieved through an endoscopic camera.


Patients with bile duct stones often have jaundice (yellow tinge to the skin) and this situation usually represents an emergency if in the context of pain.



Insured: 01293 778 919
Self funding: 01293 778 906

Spire Gatwick Park Hospital
Povey Cross Rd
Horley, Surrey RH6 0BB
United Kingdom