Gallbladder Surgery


What does the gallbladder do?

Bile is made in the liver, and the gallbladder stores and concentrates bile between meals. If the mixture of the bile is not correct, when it is concentrated the bile can form into stones in the gallbladder.

Can I live without a gallbladder?

Gallbladder surgery is a very common procedure and many people live without a gallbladder.  The gallbladder is simply a "storage facility" for bile which is made in the liver or the "factory".  In the setting of gallstones, the storage facility is defective and removing the defective storage facility and leaving the factory is all that is being done.  The liver makes 1.5L of bile a day so there is plenty of bile to do what it needs to do in the intestine.

How is the surgery performed?

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy means "key-hole surgery to remove the gallbladder".

The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic. There will be an incision next to or through the belly button for a camera and removal of the gallbladder. There will be 3 small incisions in the upper right abdomen under the ribs for the fine operating instruments.  The gallbladder is located just under the liver on the right upper part of the abdomen.  The important gallbladder duct and blood vessels will be dissected out, clipped and divided.

A fine tube is passed into the gallbladder duct to perform an X-Ray test using dye to ensure no gallstones have escaped from the gallbladder and stuck in the main bile duct.

The gallbladder is then removed from the liver and retrieved in a surgical pouch through the belly button.

Dr Wong routinely places local anaesthetic inside the abdomen which may help to decrease pain including shoulder tip pain after the surgery. 

Potential Complications

Compications are extremely rare with gallbladder surgery.

Major bleeding: less than 0.3% chance.

Main bile duct injury: never occurred. In literature is described around 0.2 - 0.5%.

Bile leak.


Damage to other organs.

Conversion to an open procedure.

Wound infection.

Item Numbers

  • 30445 - Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • 30439 - Operative Cholangiogram 
  • 30448/ 30449 - Laparoscopic cholecystectomy with removal of common duct stones.


Patients with insurance cover will not have any Out of Pocket fees for uncomplicated gallbladder surgery.

If surgery requires bile duct exploration for stone retrieval or conversion to an open procedure because of extreme technical difficulty, an Out of Pocket fee may apply.