If you have gallstones or an infected gallbladder, your doctor may advise you to have a surgical procedure. Gallbladder removal is one of the many surgical procedures that can be done laparoscopically. That means recovery is usually much quicker and the hospital stay is shorter than surgeries that require a full incision. Here's a look at how laparoscopic gallbladder removal is done and what to expect as you recover from it.

The Surgery Start With Four Small Cuts

Gallbladder surgery is usually done in a hospital while you are under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes four cuts in your abdomen that are large enough for inserting the tools necessary for the procedure. A video camera is placed through one incision. This displays a video of your gallbladder on a monitor in the surgery room. Your surgeon performs the gallbladder removal while watching the video screen since he or she can't see inside your body. Your gallbladder is removed through one of the small incisions and then your bile ducts and surrounding areas are checked for infections and other problems before stitching your incisions closed.

If you have no complications from the surgery, you may get to go home the same day. It's also possible that you'll need to spend the night in the hospital. In some cases, a laparoscopic gallbladder removal isn't possible. Your doctor may know this in advance or it may not become known until the laparoscopic surgery is underway. If the doctor runs into scar tissue or other abnormalities in your abdomen, then an open surgery may be necessary instead. This requires a long incision and you might have to stay in the hospital to recover for a few days.

The Recovery Phase Progresses Quickly

Recovering from laparoscopic surgery progresses quickly if you have no complications. You should be able to walk later in the day and gradually resume your usual activities. You might be able to go back to work in a few days, but that depends on the type of work you do. If your job entails heavy lifting, you need to rest longer to give your body time to mend. Your incisions will be closed with surgical glue or stitches. The stitches might absorb on their own or they'll be removed on a follow-up visit with your doctor.

You should be able to shower the following day and return to most of your usual activities within several days, but strenuous activity and lifting should be avoided until you're cleared by your doctor. Even though complete healing takes a few weeks, you'll probably be back to your usual routine much sooner than that.