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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Widely accepted as the best way to remove the gallbladder intact and with the stones inside.


It is usually possible following laparoscopic cholecystectomy to return home the morning after surgery.

You should be able to resume normal activities within one to two weeks.

You should be able to return to work within approximately two to three weeks, depending on the type of work you do.

Driving may be resumed not before 48 hours after surgery, and when you are able to safely perform an emergency stop.

The gallbladder is not an essential organ, and following removal you should have no difficulty in eating a normal diet.

Questions and Answers

Q: How long will surgery take?
A: Generally, surgery takes 75 minutes. However, you will need to add at least another 30 minutes for the effects of the general anaesthetic to wear off. 

Q: What types of anaesthetic are there?
A: Your consultant surgeon and consultant anaesthetist will advise you on the best anaesthetic for you based on your health.

Q: How much pain will I be in?
A: Pain is usually less for laparoscopic surgery but you will still feel some discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off. Everyone feels pain differently, but you will be provided with appropriate pain killers to help you manage afterwards. Sometimes people experience shoulder tip pain which can be from the gas used during surgery, but as this gets absorbed the pain will diminish.  

Q: How long will I be in hospital?
A: Your surgery will usually be done as a day case unless your consultant tells you otherwise. 

Q: How long will it take me to recover from surgery?
A: You should expect to mobilise immediately after surgery, but it is usual to feel a bit of soreness and bruising around the incision sites. Bruising occurs in perhaps 5-10% of patients but resolves on its own. You can drive as soon as you feel comfortable enough and feel you would be able to carry out an emergency stop. You may find coughing or sneezing causes pain around the wound site so try to use your hand to support the wound. Straining on the toilet can also cause pain so ensure you eat plenty of fibre and drink lots of water. Your consultant will be able to advise you when you can return to your usual activities. 

Q: When can I return to work?
A: You should expect to mobilise immediately with a view to returning to work 10-14 days or so after the operation dependant on the job role you are in.  

Q: When can I shower or bath?
A: You may bathe or shower as your wounds will be covered with small dressings (some are water resistant and the nursing staff at the hospital will be able to advise you on wound care before you leave hospital), but please avoid getting the wounds wet for approximately 48 hours after surgery. If you notice any signs of infections – high temperature, redness or swelling please contact Mr Boyle’s office or the hospital. 

Q: Will I have any scars?
A: You will have three to four small 0.5-1 cm small scars on your abdomen.

Q: Do I need a carer or companion with me for the first 24 hours?
A: It is traditional guidance and practice that following day case surgery patients should be discharged to be with a carer for 24 hours. 

See British Association of Day Case Surgery guidelines

Q: When to seek medical attention?
A: You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe chest or leg pain 
  • Fever over 38.6