(with on-table cholangiogram)
Once symptomatic gallstones are diagnosed, Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy is the recommended approach to remove the gallbladder.
Surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic using four small incisions on the abdominal wall. A miniature camera and specially designed instruments are used. The abdominal organs are inspected, and the gallbladder identified. A special X-ray of the bile ducts is sometimes performed (cholangiogram) to ensure the anatomy is clearly identified and that there are no stones in the bile duct which may require further treatment. All surgery is performed inside the abdomen with the entire gallbladder containing the stones removed. The skin is closed using dissolving stitches. In some people there may be some minor bruises in the first week, which usually settles down.
The advantages of laparoscopic approach include:
- Less postoperative pain
- Reduced hospital stay
- Quicker physical recovery
- Less wound scarring
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice for all patients presenting with any of the complications of gallstones described above from biliary colic to acute cholecystitis and pancreatitis.