Last updated: July 12, 2023

Summarytoggle arrow icon

Cholecystectomy refers to the surgical removal of the gallbladder. It is most often performed for symptomatic or high-risk cholelithiasis and acute cholecystitis. It can also be a component of a more extensive surgical resection (e.g., Whipple procedure). Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is most commonly performed, while open cholecystectomy is typically reserved for select cases. The decision to proceed with surgery and its timing largely depends on patient and disease characteristics. Early complications of the procedure include infection, bleeding, bowel injury, and postcholecystectomy bile leak. Late complications include hernias, strictures, fistulas, diarrhea, and postcholecystectomy syndrome.

See also “Cholelithiasis,” “Cholecystitis,” “Choledocholithiasis,” “Cholangitis,” “Biliary cancer,” and “Pancreatic and hepatic surgery.”

Definitiontoggle arrow icon

Surgical removal of the gallbladder

Indicationstoggle arrow icon

Contraindicationstoggle arrow icon

We list the most important contraindications. The selection is not exhaustive.

Procedure/applicationtoggle arrow icon


Timing of cholecystectomy depends on the indication and individual surgical risks (See “Surgical procedural risk assessment” and “Preoperative risk stratification tools” for details).

Approach [2]

Complicationstoggle arrow icon

Intraoperative and early postoperative complications [1][2][18]

Delayed complications [1][2][18]

We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.

Referencestoggle arrow icon

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  13. Crockett et al. American Gastroenterological Association Institute Guideline on Initial Management of Acute Pancreatitis. Gastroenterology. 2018; 154 (4): p.1096-1101.doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.01.032 . | Open in Read by QxMD
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