Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
An open cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your gallbladder through a large incision in your abdomen.
Your gallbladder is a pear shaped pouch underneath your liver.
Your liver and gallbladder have small tubes coming out of them, called ducts.
These ducts merge together into one large duct that attaches to your small intestine.
Your liver makes bile, a fluid that breaks down fat in food you eat.
Between meals, most bile flows through the ducts into your gallbladder and is stored there.
When you’re eating fatty food, your gallbladder contracts to release the stored bile into your small intestine.
And, your liver releases more bile that flows directly to your intestine.
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common way to remove the gallbladder.
It uses tools inserted through tiny incisions in your abdomen.
But, you may need an open cholecystectomy if a laparoscopic cholecystectomy can’t be done safely.
In an open cholecystectomy, an incision will be made in your right upper abdomen.
Once inside, your surgeon will separate your gallbladder from your liver.
Then, your surgeon will clip and cut the duct and artery leading to your gallbladder, and remove your gallbladder.
At the end of the procedure, your incision will be closed with staples, stitches, or skin glue.
Once your gallbladder has been removed, you will still be able to digest fat because bile will flow directly from your liver into your small intestine.
If you have questions about an open cholecystectomy, talk to your healthcare provider.