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Gallstone Surgery (Cholecystectomy)
The usual treatment for symptomatic or complicated gallstones is surgical removal of the gallbladder. This is called cholecystectomy.
Many people who have gallbladder disease are understandably concerned about having their gallbladder removed. They wonder how they can function without a gallbladder.
Laparoscopic removal: Most gallbladders are removed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The gallbladder is removed through a small slit in the abdomen using small tube-like instruments.
Open removal: The gallbladder is sometimes removed through a 3 to 6 inch incision in the right upper abdomen.
Occasionally, ERCP is done just before or during surgery to locate any gallstones that have left the gallbladder and are located elsewhere in the biliary system. These can be removed at the same time as surgery, eliminating the risk that they might cause a complication in the future. ERCP also may be performed after surgery if a gallstone is later found in the biliary tract. Sometimes ERCP is done without surgery, for example in people who are too frail or ill to undergo surgery.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2016
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