A cholecystectomy is performed using general anaesthesia so you will be asleep throughout the procedure. In the conventional laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, four incisions are made through the abdominal wall. A small camera is inserted through one while the surgeon removes the gallbladder through the other incisions. This leaves four scars with at least three scars in the upper abdomen being visible.
You can expect a quick recovery after laparoscopic cholecystectomy as the incisions are small and post-operative pain minimal. Most patients stay one night in hospital for observation before discharge. You can get back to normal activities and work within a few days and resume exercise after 2 weeks.
Can laparoscopic cholecystectomy be done without scars?
Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a very good operation, it does leave a few small visible scars from the keyhole incisions. Patients who prefer a better cosmetic outcome are also able to perform the exact same procedure without leaving any visible scars. Known as single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), a single cut is made through the umbilicus, which is our body’s ‘natural orifice’. The camera and instruments used for the surgery pass through this single incision, and the resultant scar is invisible when healed as it is embedded deep inside the umbilicus.
Recovery varies from person to person, depending on the procedure and your health. Most people can return home on the same day or with an overnight stay for observation, and return to work in a few days.