What happens during surgery to remove the gallbladder?

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Gallbladder removal is commonly performed with minimally invasive -- either laparoscopic or robotic -- surgery. This results in smaller incisions, which can help with less pain after surgery and a faster recovery.

The gallbladder is connected to a structure called the bile duct by a small tubular duct called the cystic duct. There is also a small blood vessel to the gallbladder called the cystic artery. During surgery, these are closed off usually with metal surgical clips and then the gallbladder is freed from its attachments to the liver and removed.

Gallbladder surgery -- also known as a cholecystectomy -- today is usually performed laparoscopically, with patients under general anesthesia.

In this procedure, a doctor makes a tiny incision in the area of your belly button and inserts a thin scope (the laparoscope). Your doctor may first fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide to improve visibility of your internal organs.

Next your doctor may make two more very tiny incisions in your right upper quadrant of your abdomen, where your gallbladder is located. Into these tiny holes your doctor may insert long, thin instruments to tease the gallbladder away from other structures and remove it through one of those tiny openings.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.