Gallbladder Removal Surgery (Cholecystectomy)

If you suffer from painful gallstones, physicians at Rush can perform laparoscopic (keyhole) or traditional (open) gallbladder surgery to ease your symptoms.

If you suffer from painful gallstones, physicians at Rush can perform laparoscopic (keyhole) or traditional (open) gallbladder surgery to ease your symptoms.

Gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) is the standard treatment for pain caused by gallstones, which are small clumps of bile and cholesterol that can form in your gallbladder.

Who Needs Gallbladder Removal Surgery?

Your doctor may recommend removing your gallbladder if you have any of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Abdominal pain (often located in the upper right-hand side of your belly), especially after eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shoulder or back pain, particularly on the right side of your body
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin)
  • Inflammation of your pancreas
  • Gallbladder cancer

If you're like most people, you can live a healthy life without your gallbladder.

Types of Gallbladder Removal

  • Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery: Our doctors perform most gallbladder removal procedures using a laparoscope. This requires only a few small incisions in your abdomen so you have less pain and scarring and a faster recovery, compared with open surgery.
  • Open gallbladder surgery: If you have certain medical problems or scar tissue from a previous surgery, you may need traditional surgery with one larger incision to remove your gallbladder.

At Rush, your doctor will discuss all of your options based on your health and risk factors and help you determine which one is best for you.

You should know that gallbladder removal has a very low complication rate. But like all surgeries, there is a risk of bleeding, infection and damage to tissues near the site of the procedure.

Gallbladder Surgery

Approximately 40 to 50% of people over the age of 40 have stones in their gallbladder. If they are causing you pain, find out how gallbladder surgery can help from Manuel Sanchez-Casalongue, MD, PhD.
stethoscope Meet our gallbladder removal surgery providers

Rush Excellence in Gallbladder Removal Surgery

  • Experienced doctors, excellent results: At Rush, you'll receive care from a team that has performed thousands of gallbladder surgeries with very few complications.
  • Care for the whole person: Gallstones sometimes occur with obesity or rapid weight loss after bariatric surgery. Our care team can connect you to the services and specialists you need to support a healthier lifestyle — without gallstone pain.
  • Nationally recognized GI team: When you choose Rush, your care team includes some of the country's leading gastrointestinal disease experts. This expertise has helped Rush University Medical Center earn recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the country's best hospitals for gastroenterology and GI surgery.
  • Second opinions when you need them: Thinking about gallbladder surgery? Our experts can help you understand your options so you can feel confident that you've made the most informed decision about your care.