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Gallbladder removal

If you need to have your gallbladder removed, HCA UK provides open cholecystectomy


Your gallbladder is a small organ (body part) that stores bile, a liquid which helps you digest fatty food.

Sometimes small stones called gallstones forms inside your gallbladder. These often cause no symptoms and you may not even know you have them. However, they can sometimes block the flow of bile and irritate your gall bladder (acute cholecystitis) or pancreas (acute pancreatitis).

If you get these conditions, the symptoms are:

- sudden, very severe tummy pain
- nausea and vomiting
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

Surgery to remove the gall bladder (cholecystectomy) is the most effective treatment option.

You can live without a gallbladder as your liver will still make bile.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will assess your condition and depending on your symptoms (especially if your gallstones are causing pain), a cholecystectomy will be carried out.

    There are two types of cholecystectomy – laparoscopic (keyhole) and open. This type of operation is usually carried out laparoscopically, however, upon discussion with your consultant, and depending on your condition, it may be planned that you have an open cholecystectomy, which is a larger cut in your abdomen, to remove your gallbladder.

    Compared to keyhole surgery, the recovery time for open surgery is usually longer.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Open cholecystectomy is generally a very safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you might have.

    Open cholecystectomy is carried out under a general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep during the provedure. Afterwards, the area will be closed with stitches or staples.

    We will let you know in advance how long to avoid eating and drinking before your surgery.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery unit, where our dedicated team will look after you. You will be given pain relief medication if needed.

    After your open cholecystectomy, you will usually be required to stay in hospital for three to five days. Your consultant or specialist nurse will let you know when you can leave the hospital.

    You will be advised on how to manage your recovery and when you can get back to your usual daily routines, but most people make a full recovery within six to eight weeks. Some patients may also experience bloating or diarrhoea after surgery, which usually improves within a few weeks.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    General enquiries 020 7486 1234

  • The Wellington North Building - Liver Unit

    The Wellington Hospital Liver Unit

    The Wellington Hospital Liver Unit

    North Building, Circus Road, St John's Wood

    London NW8 6DP

    Call 020 7483 5933

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street


    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773

  • The HSC exterior

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London  W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7935 7700
    General enquiries 020 7034 8181

  • The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road


    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7730 8298
    General enquiries 020 7730 7733

  • The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street


    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

  • Male-receptionist-greets-male-visitor

    London Digestive Centre

    41 Welbeck Street


    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 7908 8003
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

  • London Digestive Health

    London Digestive Surgery

    41 Welbeck Street


    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 3131 5319
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
    All of our upper GI and colorectal consultant are at our Chiswick clinic on Saturdays

  • MRI scans

    London Liver Centre

    4th Floor, Emblem House

    27 Tooley Street

    London SE1 2PR

    Appointments & enquiries 020 7234 2730

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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