Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal)

The gallbladder sits just below your liver on the right side of your abdomen. It stores bile, which helps digest fat, after the bile has been produced by the liver. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy (or gallbladder removal) is a common procedure during which the surgeon usually makes four small incisions in order to see the area with a laparoscope and to remove the gallbladder.

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Provider List

2900 12th Avenue North #355
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 238-6470

What is a Laparoscope

A Laparoscope is a small flexible tool with a camera attached to the end. It is inserted through a small incision so the surgeon can see the gallbladder, the organs around it, and the surgical instruments on a screen. This visibility is what makes it possible for the doctor to perform the procedure without incisions.

When Procedure is Used

Gallstones are the most common reason for gallbladders to be removed. When they block ducts that carry bile from the liver or gallbladder, gallstones can cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and you may also experience pain in your abdomen, shoulder, back, and chest. Jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes, can also be a symptom of gallstones, and they can even cause the gallbladder to become infected.

During Surgery

A general anesthetic is given to relax your muscles, prevent pain, and help you fall asleep. Your surgeon will make a small incision in order to fill your abdomen with a harmless gas to create more room for the arthroscope and instruments and to allow the doctor to see everything more clearly. One incision will be made in your belly button for the arthroscope. Other instruments are then inserted through additional small incisions to cut the gallbladder away from surrounding tissue. Your surgeon may also check for stones in your bile ducts during the procedure and will remove them as needed.


The risks are low. However, potential risks might include

  • allergic reactions to medications.
  • bile duct injuries
  • bile leakage
  • bleeding or blood clots
  • infection


  • pain relief following gallstone removal
  • prevention of future gallstones

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