Open Cholecystectomy

ExitCare ImageOpen cholecystectomy is surgery to remove the gallbladder. The gallbladder is located slightly to the right of center in the abdomen, behind the liver. It is a concentrating and storage sac for the bile produced in the liver. Bile aids in the digestion and absorption of fats. Gallbladder disease (cholecystitis) is an inflammation of your gallbladder. This condition is usually caused by a buildup of gallstones (cholelithiasis) in your gallbladder. Gallstones can block the flow of bile, resulting in inflammation and pain. In severe cases, emergency surgery may be required. When emergency surgery is not required, you will have time to prepare for the procedure.


  • Allergies to food or medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes and kidney problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.


All surgery is associated with risks. Some problems that may occur following this procedure include:

  • Infection.

  • Damage to the common bile duct, nerves, arteries, veins, or other internal organs such as the stomach or intestines.

  • Bleeding following surgery.

  • A stone may remain in the common bile duct.


  • Do not take aspirin for 3 days prior to surgery or blood thinners for 1 week prior to surgery.

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

  • Let your caregiver know if you develop a cold or other infectious problem prior to surgery.

  • You should be present 60 minutes before the procedure or as directed.


You will be given medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic). When you are asleep, your surgeon will make a cut (incision) to open your abdomen. The surgeon will examine the inside of your abdomen and make sure there are no other problems. Following the removal of your gallbladder, your abdomen will be closed with stitches (sutures) on the inside and outside.


  • After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery area where a nurse will watch and check your progress.

  • The hospital stay is usually 3 to 5 days.

  • Do not resume physical activities until directed by your caregiver.

  • You may resume normal diet and activities as directed by your caregiver.