Treatment Options for Gallbladder Disease

The gallbladder is an organ you can live without. Doctors often recommend removing the gallbladder to ease or end attacks.1 Surgery to remove your gallbladder is known as a cholecystectomy.

Open Surgery2

If the surgeon uses a large incision to remove the gallbladder, this is known as an open cholecystectomy. The surgeon makes an incision 5-8 inches long to access the gallbladder in an open procedure. This may cause more pain and a greater risk of complications. Today, most patients have their gallbladders removed with minimally invasive surgery - laparoscopy.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopy is minimally invasive, meaning the surgeon makes a few small incisions instead of one long incision. Long-handled, rigid instruments and a small camera are used to remove the gallbladder. These instruments are often considered challenging to use during complex procedures.

Site-Site™ da Vinci ® Surgery

There is another minimally invasive option designed to overcome the limitations of open and traditional laparoscopy – Single-Site da Vinci Surgery. This procedure uses the da Vinci System, which is a state-of-the-art robotic surgical platform that translates your surgeon’s hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of instruments inside your body.

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient, condition and procedure. This information can help you make the best decision for your situation.


  1. X-Plain Cholecystectomy – Open and Laparoscopic Reference Summary, National Institutes of Health,
  2. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse,, URL:


All surgery presents risk, including da Vinci Surgery. Results, including cosmetic results, may vary. Serious complications may occur in any surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious and life-threatening complications, which may require hospitalization, include injury to tissues or organs; bleeding; infection, and internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction or pain. Temporary pain or nerve injury has been linked to the inverted position often used during abdominal and pelvic surgery. Patients should understand that risks of surgery include potential for human error and potential for equipment failure. Risk specific to minimally invasive surgery may include: a longer operative time; the need to convert the procedure to an open approach; or the need for additional or larger incision sites. Converting the procedure to open could mean a longer operative time, long time under anesthesia, and could lead to increased complications. Research suggests that there may be an increased risk of incision-site hernia with single-incision surgery. Patients who bleed easily, have abnormal blood clotting, are pregnant or morbidly obese are typically not candidates for minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery. Other surgical approaches are available. Patients should review the risks associated with all surgical approaches. They should talk to their doctors about their surgical experience and to decide if da Vinci is right for them. For more complete information on surgical risks, safety and indications for use, please refer to

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