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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Whether you’re experiencing gallstones, cholecystitis, or other gallbladder-related issues, our team of highly skilled surgeons is here to ensure you receive the best possible outcome with the utmost care and compassion. With cutting-edge technology and a patient-first approach, we’re here to support you through every step of your journey towards recovery.

Also known as: keyhole gallbladder surgery

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Everything You Need to Know

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, or keyhole gallbladder surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure aimed at removing the gallbladder through small incisions. This technique is often recommended for treating gallstones that cause pain or infections (cholecystitis). By opting for a laparoscopic approach, patients benefit from shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times, and significantly less pain compared to traditional open surgery.

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that plays a role in digestion by storing bile. However, gallstones – small, hard deposits that form in the gallbladder – can cause blockages, leading to pain, infection, or inflammation. Symptoms may include severe abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice. When these symptoms impact your quality of life, laparoscopic cholecystectomy provides a safe and effective solution.

Before Surgery

A thorough pre-assessment is the first step in your surgical journey. Our dedicated pre-assessment team will conduct a series of checks to evaluate your fitness for surgery. This includes:

  • Comprehensive Blood Tests: To check your overall health status.
  • Imaging Studies: Such as an ultrasound or MRI, to get a detailed view of your gallbladder.
  • Heart and Lung Function Tests: Ensuring you’re fit for general anaesthesia.
  • Medication Review: Discuss any medications you’re on and how they might need to be adjusted before surgery.

During Surgery

Undergoing surgery can be daunting, but at St John & Elizabeth Hospital, we’re dedicated to ensuring your laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed with the highest standards of care and safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide to what happens during the procedure, designed to put your mind at ease.

Arrival and Preparation

Upon arrival at the hospital on the day of your surgery, our friendly staff will welcome you and guide you to your room. You’ll change into a hospital gown, and a nurse will check your vital signs, review your medical history, and confirm the procedure details with you.


  • Meeting the Anesthetist: Before the surgery, you’ll meet with your anaesthetist to discuss the anaesthesia plan. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed under general anaesthesia, ensuring you’re asleep and pain-free throughout the surgery.
  • IV Line Insertion: An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in your arm or hand to administer the anaesthesia and provide fluids.

The Surgical Procedure

  • Making Small Incisions: The surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen. Through these, specialised instruments and a laparoscope (a small tube with a light and camera) are inserted.
  • Removing the Gallbladder: Guided by the images transmitted from the laparoscope to a monitor, the surgeon carefully removes your gallbladder.
  • Closing the Incisions: The incisions are then closed with sutures or surgical glue, which minimises scarring.

After Surgery

Recovering from laparoscopic cholecystectomy is generally quicker and less painful than from open surgery, but it is still crucial to follow our aftercare guidance closely. At St John & Elizabeth Hospital, we’re dedicated to supporting you through every step of your recovery journey.

Immediately After Surgery

  • Rest and Monitoring: You will spend a few hours in the recovery room under close observation by our nursing team to ensure your safe recovery from anaesthesia and to manage any discomfort.
  • Pain Management: It’s normal to experience some pain and discomfort. Our pain management specialists will provide effective pain relief tailored to your needs.

Medically reviewed by Professor Lee Dvorkin - MD FRCS (Gen Surg) on 27/04/2024

Hospital Fee Guaranteed


The price shown includes all costs associated with your treatment, from admission to discharge.

Doesn’t include surgeon or anaesthetist fee.

Our hospital fee is guaranteed at the price quoted and valid for one month from the date issued, subject to pre-assessment.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.



You will have an initial consultation with a specialist consultant. This meeting is essential for assessing your symptoms and understanding the impact on your daily life.


Treatment Plan

During your consultation, your specialist will review your medical history and conduct a thorough examination. Depending on the severity, you might need additional tests to confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment. If treatment—ranging from medication to surgery—is necessary, your doctor will discuss the risks, benefits, and what to expect during recovery. Together, you will determine the best course of action.


Pre-treatment Preparations

Before beginning your treatment, especially if surgery is needed, you may be advised to adjust your diet or use specific medications to ensure the best possible outcomes. This preparation phase is crucial for a successful treatment and swift recovery.


Pre-op Assessment

Should surgery be the recommended route, a pre-operative assessment will be scheduled. This standard ‘fitness for surgery’ check ensures you are in optimal health before undergoing the procedure.



For those undergoing surgical treatment, the procedure will typically be quick, with most patients able to return home the same day.



Post-treatment, following your specialist’s instructions is vital. This may include pain management, wound care, and dietary adjustments. Our therapy team will be available to support you through your recovery, ensuring you have the best possible guidance.

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