Last reviewed 01/2018

Cholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder and is the treatment of choice for symptomatic gallstones. Traditionally, it has been performed as an open operation but more recently, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy has become the standard operation.

The mortality for elective cholecystectomy is low, ranging from 0 to 0.5%. The most frequent cause of death is cardiovascular disease. The importance of carefully checking for symptoms of cardiovascular disease before operation cannot be overstressed; any cardiac pathology should be corrected before proceeding with the cholecystectomy. Septic complications have been reduced markedly since the use of prophylactic antibiotics.