The cholecystectomy is performed under general anesthesia where the anesthesia is administered through a vein in your arm. In the case of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon will make four small incisions in the abdomen and insert a laparoscope into the abdomen through one of them.
The laparoscope is a small, thin tube that is connected to a video monitor. Your surgeon performs the operation while using the video monitor as a guide, and inserts surgical tools through the other incisions to remove the gallbladder.
Once the gallbladder is removed, your surgeon will perform an imaging test like an X-ray or ultrasound to find out if there are any other possible gallstones or problems in the bile duct.
The incisions are then sutured, and you are moved to the recovery area. All this is done within one or two hours.
Traditional or open cholecystectomy
In the case of traditional or open cholecystectomy, your surgeon makes a single, 6-inch incision in the abdomen below your ribs, on the right side. Your surgeon pulls back the muscle and tissue to reach the liver and gallbladder, and remove it. The incision is then sutured and you are shifted to the recovery area within one to two hours.
There are various advantages of a laparoscopic procedure over a traditional cholecystectomy.
· There is less pain involved as smaller incisions are made which heal quickly.
· The hospital stay is short, spanning a few hours as the healing process is quicker with small incisions.
· Recovery is faster as smaller incisions are made, and there’s no need of cutting abdominal muscles like in an open surgery.
· Instead of ending up with a single, 5-7inch incision scar on your abdomen, you have 4 small incisions which leave minute scars upon healing.
· You can normally return home on the same day, and quickly return to your normal activities within 7 days. This is unlike open cholecystectomy where you have to stay in the hospital for about five days till the large scar heals, and can return to normal activities only after four to six weeks.
However laparoscopic cholecystectomy isn’t meant for everyone. There are some cases where the surgeon may start with a laparoscopic surgery, but later learn that it’s necessary to make a single, large incision because of some complications, infections or scarring from previous operations. Your surgeon is the person who knows best and will be able to decide which surgical procedure is better for you.