Results Vs Risksof the Surgery

Gallbladder removal is a very common procedure.


Your gallbladder isn’t a vital organ, so your body can function without it. Your liver will continue to produce bile, which helps you digest fats, but instead of being stored in your gallbladder, the bile will pass directly into your bowel. The vast majority of people having keyhole gallbladder removal are satisfied with their surgery.
People who have keyhole surgery recover quicker from the operation compared to those who have an open procedure.


After surgery, a small number of people have a combination of symptoms called post cholecystectomy syndrome. This may include:

  • inflammation of the oesophagus
  • gastritis
  • diarrhoea
  • lower abdominal pain.

Your risk of developing the syndrome is higher if you:

  • have emergency surgery
  • had symptoms for a long time before surgery
  • are aged under 30
  • are female.

If the symptoms persist, further surgery is sometimes required.

The risks of surgery, and the anaesthesia, are dramatically increased if you’re overweight or obese. Losing weight beforehand will lower your risk.

There are a number of other possible complications associated with the surgery:

  • Gallstone left behind blocking the bile duct - this may mean more surgery
  • Wound infection - open surgery 8%, keyhole 1%
  • Need for a stay in a nursing or rehab facility - open surgery 6%, keyhole 1%
  • Urinary tract infection - open surgery 2%, keyhole 1%
  • Pneumonia - 1%
  • Heart problems - 1%
  • Blood clot - 1%
  • Kidney failure - 1%
  • Pregnancy complications - if you have this surgery while you’re pregnant, there’s a 4% risk of losing the baby. If you also have pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas), your risk is increased.

Choosing a specialist

How to find a surgeon who specialises in gallbladder removal.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.