Gallbladder removal surgery

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Private gallbladder removal at a glance

Gallbladder removal surgery prices and locations

What is gallbladder removal surgery?

Gallbladder removal (sometimes known as cholecystectomy) is a medical procedure in which the gallbladder is surgically removed. The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver, and its primary function is to store bile produced by the liver. Bile helps in the digestion of fats in the small intestine.

Who is it for?

The most common reason for gallbladder removal is to remove gallstones. These are hardened deposits of cholesterol that can form in the gallbladder. Gallstones can cause pain, inflammation, and other complications. In some cases, gallbladder removal may also be recommended for conditions such as gallbladder inflammation (also called cholecystitis), gallbladder polyps, or (rarely) gallbladder cancer..

Symptoms of gallstones can include:

  • intense abdominal pain in the upper right of your abdomen
  • pain after eating (particularly foods containing fats)
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • excess wind
  • nausea and vomiting
  • high temperature
  • jaundice.

The decision to undergo gallbladder removal is usually

What is gallbladder removal surgery?

Gallbladder removal (sometimes known as cholecystectomy) is a medical procedure in which the gallbladder is surgically removed. The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver, and its primary function is to store bile produced by the liver. Bile helps in the digestion of fats in the small intestine.

Who is it for?

The most common reason for gallbladder removal is to remove gallstones. These are hardened deposits of cholesterol that can form in the gallbladder. Gallstones can cause pain, inflammation, and other complications. In some cases, gallbladder removal may also be recommended for conditions such as gallbladder inflammation (also called cholecystitis), gallbladder polyps, or (rarely) gallbladder cancer..

Symptoms of gallstones can include:

  • intense abdominal pain in the upper right of your abdomen
  • pain after eating (particularly foods containing fats)
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • excess wind
  • nausea and vomiting
  • high temperature
  • jaundice.

The decision to undergo gallbladder removal is usually based on the severity and recurrence of symptoms.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will assess your symptoms and medical history and may perform blood tests, urine tests, or scans.

Types of gallbladder operations

This procedure is usually performed in one of two ways:

  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: (laparoscopic keyhole surgery) is the most common method of removing gallstones. It is a minimally invasive approach. Several small incisions are made in the abdomen, and a thin tube with a camera called a laparoscope is then used to help the surgeon remove the gallbladder. Recovery time is generally faster compared to open surgery and most patients can return home the same day.
  • Open surgery: In some cases, open surgery may be necessary, especially if laparoscopic surgery is not feasible or if there are complications during surgery. This involves the surgeon making a larger incision in the abdomen and then removing the gallbladder through this opening and dealing with any other issues that may arise. This type of surgery may involve a longer stay in hospital.

Private gallbladder surgery success rates and benefits

Gallbladder removal is a common and generally safe procedure. Most people can live a normal, healthy life without a gallbladder.

Benefits include:

  • pain relief
  • prevention of complications associated with gallstones such as inflammation, blockage, or pancreatitis
  • improved digestive system and less discomfort after eating
  • prevention of new gallstones.

Risks and complications

The procedure, especially when performed using minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy, is associated with low complication rates and high patient satisfaction.

However, as with all surgical procedures, gallbladder removal surgery does come with certain risks:

  • excess bleeding
  • infections
  • blood clots
  • damage to bile duct causing leakage
  • damage to nearby organs
  • digestive changes such as increased bowel movements or occasional diarrhoea
  • adverse reaction to anaesthetic.

As you recover, it is normal to experience some side effects such as bloating, wind, diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea, and discomfort.

Private gallbladder surgery costs in the UK

You can expect to pay anything between £4,500-£7,000 for private gallbladder removal surgery in the UK.

At Practice Plus Group, we’re committed to honest, transparent pricing and pride ourselves on offering treatments at a lower price than our competitors. Gallbladder removal surgery at Practice Plus Group costs £5,749, plus £95 for the initial consultation and tests.

Ways to pay

There are 3 ways to access gallbladder removal surgery at Practice Plus Group:

Gallbladder removal waiting lists

If you are researching gallbladder removal surgery, you may have discovered the current wait for treatment on the NHS can be very long.

The maximum waiting time target for non-urgent consultant-led NHS treatments is around five months depending on your location in the UK. At Practice Plus Group, our average wait for private surgery is 4-6 weeks.

Gallbladder removal options – what to expect

Gallbladder removal surgery might seem like a daunting prospect, so we’ve broken it down into three sections. Each one details what happens before, during, and after the operation, so you know exactly what to expect.

Preparing for surgery

Before surgery, you will be booked in for a pre-assessment appointment. You’ll meet your dedicated surgeon and anaesthetist who will carry out any necessary tests. These may include scans and blood tests. This is your opportunity to talk about your general health and medical history, ask questions, and prepare yourself for the procedure. Once the clinician has assessed you, our team will arrange a date for surgery that works for you.

In the days and weeks before surgery, it’s a good idea to prepare your home. You’ll need to make sure it’s a suitable space for your recovery. You will also need to arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and stay with you for the first 24 hours.

You will usually be instructed to fast for a specific period before the surgery. This is done to ensure your stomach is empty which will reduce the risk of complications during anaesthesia. You should avoid wearing jewellery, makeup, or nail polish.

The procedure

For the surgery, you will be put to sleep under general anaesthetic. The procedure usually takes between one and three hours, depending on the surgical technique used.

The operation is usually performed as keyhole surgery (where the surgeon makes several smaller incisions through which to pass through a small camera and surgical instruments).

Carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdomen to create a space for the surgeon to work and to improve visibility.

The surgeon then carefully detaches the gallbladder from the liver and other surrounding structures. Once detached, the gallbladder is removed through one of the small incisions.

The incisions are then closed, usually with absorbable sutures and skin glue as a waterproof covering. Sometimes surgical stitches or staples may be required with dressings then applied to cover the wound until they are removed.

During an open cholecystectomy, a single, larger incision (often several inches long) is made in the upper-right side of the abdomen.

Gallbladder surgery recovery

For ‘keyhole’ laparoscopic surgery, you will usually go home the same day. For open surgery, you will likely need to stay in hospital for a few nights.

After surgery, you will be monitored until the effects of anaesthesia wear off. You will be advised on pain management and will be encouraged to move around as soon as possible to prevent complications.

Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks to allow the body to heal.

Most people can return to their normal routine within a week or two after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Recovery from open cholecystectomy may take longer, with a gradual return to normal activities over several weeks.

Meet our surgeons and consultants

At Practice Plus Group, you can choose an experienced consultant to support you throughout your time with us, ensuring you receive first-class care.

You can search for consultants on our website by treatment, language or name.

Find private gallbladder removal near you

We offer private gallbladder removal operations at the following of our high quality hospitals around the UK:

  • Devizes
  • Emersons Green
  • Ilford
  • Shepton Mallet
  • Southampton.

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ by the CQC.

Wellsoon self-pay surgery

Choose Wellsoon self-pay surgery from Practice Plus Group. With no hidden costs, you’ll pay less than you might think and be back to your best sooner than you thought.

  • Surgery in 4 to 6 weeks
  • No hidden costs
  • Flexible finance options
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To chat about Wellsoon self-pay surgery options, call our Private Patient Advisors today, on 0330 818 8945. Alternatively, you can email us on privatepatient@practiceplusgroup.com

Gallbladder surgery FAQs

Take a look at the answers to our most frequently asked gallbladder surgery questions below or contact our team for more information.

Pain experienced during and after gallbladder removal surgery can vary from person-to-person. Pain at the incision sites is common after gallbladder removal in the early period, but it is usually manageable with pain medications and resolves over time. Laparoscopic surgery typically results in less post-operative pain than open surgery due to the smaller incisions.

The immediate recovery period involves some discomfort, particularly when moving, coughing, or breathing deeply. Most patients experience significant improvement in their pain levels within a week or two.

Pain experienced during and after gallbladder removal surgery can vary from person-to-person. Pain at the incision sites is common after gallbladder removal in the early period, but it is usually manageable with pain medications and resolves over time. Laparoscopic surgery typically results in less post-operative pain than open surgery due to the smaller incisions.

The immediate recovery period involves some discomfort, particularly when moving, coughing, or breathing deeply. Most patients experience significant improvement in their pain levels within a week or two.

Several tests may be conducted to:

  • assess your overall health
  • identify any potential risks
  • help the healthcare team plan for the surgery.

This could include physical examinations, blood or urine tests, or imaging scans.

Gallbladder surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. This means you will be unconscious and unaware of the surgical procedure.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. Open cholecystectomy can range from 1.5 to 3 hours or more.

While some people may need to have surgery relatively soon after being diagnosed with gallbladder issues, others may be able to delay the surgery for a period of time. This will depend on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, your overall health, and whether you have any complications that require urgent intervention.

It’s important to remember that people recover at different rates following surgery. However, most people can return to normal daily activities (including returning to work) within a week or two of having laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Open cholecystectomy may require a longer recovery period.

Sleeping after gallbladder surgery can be a bit challenging due to the discomfort around the incision area. Try elevating the upper body slightly with pillows. You should avoid sleeping on the same side as the incisions and take pain medication as prescribed. Your doctor will be able to help with more sleeping guidance and advice.

You may need to wait until your incisions are fully healed and any stitches or staples are removed. Talk to your healthcare provider about when it is safe to bathe or swim.

Most people can gradually resume a normal diet as their body adjusts to the absence of the gallbladder. In the immediate post-operative period, some people may be advised to start on a liquid diet of water, broth, and clear juices. This may then progress to easily digestible foods such as yoghurt or soups.

The transition to a regular diet typically occurs over the first few days to a week. This will depend on how well you tolerate different food types. Prioritise low-fat and easily digestible foods to minimise stress on the digestive system.

If you’ve had keyhole surgery, this is usually within a few days or weeks. Follow the specific guidance provided by your healthcare provider regarding when it’s safe for you to resume driving.

This depends on the nature of your job. Many people can return to deskwork duties within a week. Those with more manual roles may have to wait a little longer.

This depends on:

  • your symptoms
  • the severity of these symptoms
  • the underlying cause of the gallbladder issues.

Your healthcare provider can discuss the benefits and risks of gallbladder removal with you. They will also talk through the urgency based on your specific situation and help you make an informed decision about the timing of the surgery.

Private gallbladder surgery can cost anywhere from around £4,500 to £7,000. The procedure at Practice Plus Group costs £5,749 (plus £95 for the initial consultation).

Mark Tomlinson consultant general surgeon

Acknowledgements

Mr Mark Tomlinson is an experienced consultant general surgeon specialising in gallstones, hernias, removal of skin lumps or cysts and general day-case surgery. Mark provides specialist general surgery at Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, Shepton Mallet. Mark is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and a Member of The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland, the Vascular Society of GB & Ireland, and a Member of The British Association of Endocrine & Thyroid Surgeons.
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Gallbladder surgery, Plymouth – kindness and efficiency

Thank you all so much for your kindness and efficiency, caring for me with my recent operation for gall bladder removal, I and my family so appreciate your hard work!
by Hilda Putt

Portsmouth – every member of staff was amazing

I attended [Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, St Mary’s Portsmouth] Treatment Centre on Sunday with my 7 year old daughter as she had broken her ankle and just wanted to feedback on our experience. The centre was exceptionally busy but every member of staff we encountered was amazing: positive, calm and just absolute stars! The situation could have easily felt really out of control with how busy it was but we were given regular updates to waiting times and to thank us for our patience. We were seen by a lovely woman on triage, the most smiley technician at X-ray and a doctor who took time to explain what was happening to my daughter. I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do.

by Anon

Fantastic care

I would recommend Practice Plus Group and would use them again if I need to. So, so grateful to all of them.

by Fran Taylor

Best hospital I have ever been in

This is the best hospital I have ever been in. The care and efficiency were excellent. My operation was conducted by a top class surgeon and anaesthetist who made me feel relaxed and secure. The team in the Kingfisher ward were kind and professional with good bedside manners and sense of humour. There were no delays in the treatment. My stay was made as comfortable as possible and I thank everyone involved. I am now recovering well.

by Iain Robertson, Google

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