Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal)


Cause / Condition
Your liver produces bile (a fluid that aids in digestion and breaks down fatty foods) and sends it to the gallbladder and the small intestine through ducts. When bile and other fluids inside the gallbladder become unbalanced, the chemicals solidify and form gallstones. Many gallbladder problems are caused by gallstones. Abdominal swelling, sharp abdominal pain, vomiting and indigestion may be the result of gallstones moving and/or blocking a duct(s). There are also other conditions including infection, jaundice and pancreatitis.



About the Procedure
The surgeon makes four small abdominal incisions. A laparoscope attached to a camera is inserted through one incision allowing the surgeon to view inside the body. Specially designed instruments are inserted through the other incisions to perform the procedure and remove the gallbladder. Xrays of the bile ducts to ensure safety are routine.



Patients may return home the same day of surgery or the day after depending on other factors. Some discomfort may be felt in the right shoulder from carbon dioxide that is used during the procedure for "visualization." The discomfort is temporary. The overall postoperative pain is much less compared to the traditional or "open" procedure because no major muscle groups are cut.



Expectations / Experience
Some patients may experience gas pains and other discomfort until the digestive system returns to normal. When the small incisions heal, the scars may be nearly invisible. Resumption of normal activities usually occurs within 5 days after surgery.


MIMIS surgeons were the first in Wisconsin to report laparoscopic gallbladder surgery results.


Factor Traditional Laparoscopic
Hospital Stay 5 days Same day or one day
Pain during recovery Moderate Minimal
Return to work timeframe 4-6 weeks 5 days
Cosmetic results 8-10" scar 4 small incisions

For more information contact:

The Milwaukee Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee
2301 N. Lake Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

(800) 377-2673

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