Endocrine, Gallbladder, Hernia and General Surgeon 

(+44) 07936 181 874

From Consultant Surgeon Mr James Kirkby-Bott

More Information about Gallbladder Issues

What are the risks of Gallbladder Surgery?

No surgery is without some risks attached. Here we describe the procedure and what risks are involved. These can be broken down into the general risks of surgery and specific risks of gallbladder surgery. Post operation advice is available here

General risks associated with gallbladder surgery

  • Bruising and scarring. Bruising resolves over 10-14 days.  Scarring takes up to 12 months to fully model. 

  • Wound Infection. Occasionally any of the 4 small wounds can get infected but most often it affects the belly button wound. Discolouration of this wound is common and not an infection. If the wound becomes swollen, bright red and hot then a short course of antibiotics is required. Call to see me if this happens.

  • DVT/PE or clots in the legs are uncommon but everyone has a small risk. We use specials boots during surgery and advise you wear TED stockings (fitted before surgery) from when you arrive till when you feel mobile. These are designed to reduce your risk, but we cannot eliminate it entirely.

  • Shoulder tip pain and chest infections. Shoulder tip pain is common, if you walk around it will go in about 48 hours. Chest infection can happen if pain is untreated and you remain in bed or sat down all day. Get up and move to fully expand your lungs several times a day to reduce this risk to negligible.

  • Bleeding during surgery is rare and can be managed during surgery. It is very rare to need a blood transfusion

  • Hernias occurring in wounds are  very uncommon but can occur.  Smoking and/or being overweight significantly increases this risk. 

Specific risks associated with gallbaladder surgery

  • Bile duct injury is a very rare but serious complication of gallbladder surgery. You don't need a gallbladder but you do need a common bile duct. Damaging this can occur for a variety of reasons and the more diseased your gallbladder the slightly higher the risk. The incidence is about 1 in 500 cases. If it happens it needs fixing and this nearly always involves a bigger operation and a longer recovery.

  • Bile leaks are uncommon but not rare. They can slow down your recovery, may require a drain to be left for a few days if it is felt to be a risk of happening. Rarely a return to theatre or a camera test (ERCP) are needed to control them.

  • Retained stones can be left in the main bile duct despite using the diagnostic pathway. It happens in about 5% and usually leads to a further attack of gallstone pain as it passes and then doesn't recur. If this is a problem or is noticed during your surgery as a risk we will let you know and discuss an appropriate plan.

Contact Private Consultant Surgeon 

07936 18 18 74