A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, an organ located just under the liver on the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. It is primarily performed to treat gallstones. The two basic types of this procedure are open cholecystectomy and laparoscopic. The laparoscopic procedure is currently used for approximately 80% of cases. The laparoscopic method uses several small incisions to allow insertion of small thin tubes with video cameras (laparoscopes) and surgical instruments attached to perform the surgery.
|Houston, TX Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,625 - $7,200|
|Washington, DC Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,775 - $7,500|
|Dallas, TX Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,550 - $7,000|
|Los Angeles, CA Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$3,500 - $9,500|
|Chicago, IL Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,550 - $6,900|
|Miami, FL Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,550 - $6,900|
|Phoenix, AZ Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,850 - $7,800|
|Philadelphia, PA Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,700 - $7,300|
|Atlanta, GA Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,700 - $7,300|
|New York, NY Laparoscopy, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Cost Average||$2,775 - $7,600|
|Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder - Gallstone Removal Surgery) Cost Average||$5,000 - $43,600|
|Surgicare of Minneapolis||Edina , MN||$2,100 - $6,500|
|Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital||Dunn , NC||$1,400 - $4,400|
|Jennings American Legion Hospital||Jennings , LA||$1,650 - $5,100|
|Valley View Surgical Center||Lebanon , PA||$1,900 - $6,000|
|Houston Lake Surgery Center||Warner Robins , GA||$1,750 - $5,400|
|Memorial Hospital||Fremont , OH||$2,000 - $6,300|
|Surgery Center of Wilson||Wilson , NC||$1,950 - $6,100|
|Olean General Hospital||Olean , NY||$1,050 - $3,300|
|Hile Community Surgery Center||Hilo , HI||$2,400 - $7,500|
|Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center||Plattsburgh , NY||$4,100 - $12,800|
|Lakewalk Surgery Center||Duluth , MN||$2,100 - $6,500|
|Evans Surgery Center||Evans , GA||$1,750 - $5,400|
|Clara Barton Hospital||Hoisington , KS||$6,400 - $20,100|
|Physician Surgery Center at Anmed Health||Anderson , SC||$1,950 - $6,200|
|The Surgery Center at Gaslight Medical Park||Lufkin , TX||$1,800 - $5,700|
|East Ann Arbor Health Center||Ann Arbor , MI||$2,025 - $6,400|
|East Morgan County Hospital||Brush , CO||$5,700 - $17,900|
|Harrisburg Endoscopy and Surgery Center||Harrisburg , PA||$1,900 - $6,000|
|Chico Surgery Center||Chico , CA||$2,700 - $8,500|
|Oxford Surgery Center||Oxford , MS||$1,750 - $5,500|
|Kingston Ambulatory Surgical Center||Kingston , NY||$1,900 - $5,900|
|First Choice Surgery Center of Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge , LA||$1,700 - $5,200|
|Lansing Surgery Center||Lansing , MI||$2,025 - $6,400|
|Midwest Surgical Center||Champaign , IL||$1,900 - $5,900|
|Ambulatory Surgical Center||Oshkosh , WI||$2,175 - $6,900|
|Physicians Surgery Center of Florence||Florence , SC||$1,950 - $6,200|
|North Colorado Medical Center||Greeley , CO||$2,475 - $7,800|
|The Lu-jean Feng Clinic||Pepper Pike , OH||$2,000 - $6,200|
|Cox North||Springfield , MO||$1,050 - $3,300|
|Menomonee Falls Ambulatory Surgery Center||Menomonee Falls , WI||$2,175 - $6,900|
What is a cholecystectomy?
A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. It is a low-risk, common procedure. The surgery is usually done laparoscopically — a method in which a surgeon inserts a tube with a camera and surgical instruments into a small incision in the abdomen.
What does the gallbladder do?
Your gallbladder collects and stores bile, a digestive fluid made in the liver. This digestive fluid, made more concentrated in the gallbladder, is secreted into the small intestine where it breaks down fat for easier digestion.
Where is my gallbladder?
The gallbladder is located on the upper, right side of your abdomen, directly below your liver.
What is a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy?
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure in which a surgeon removes your gallbladder through several small incisions (usually four) in your abdomen using a laparoscope.
What is open cholecystectomy?
An open cholecystectomy is a procedure in which your gallbladder is removed via a 5-7 inch incision in your abdomen. An open cholecystectomy is usually only performed when a laparoscopic cholecystectomy cannot be done safely. Here are some of the reasons your surgeon may choose an open surgical procedure.
Sever liver problems.
Unexpected bleeding during the laparoscopic procedure.
Past abdominal surgeries.
Why would I need to have my gall bladder removed?
Cholecystectomies are usually performed when the patient has gallstones, which block the flow of bile to the small intestine.
There are a few other related conditions which may require a cholecystectomy.
Cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder or biliary colic. This happens when a gallstone gets stuck in a bile duct, and it can be extremely painful.
Choledocholithiasis: a gallstone that moves through the bile duct. In some cases, the gallstone will pass without surgery. If it gets stuck it can also affect the pancreas.
Gallstone pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas caused by a gallstone that gets stuck in the bile duct or pancreatic duct.
Perforated gallbladder: a hole or holes, through which bile leaks into the abdominal cavity. Perforation may also happen if the gallbladder bursts.
What are the risks gallbladder surgery?
Though risks with a cholecystectomy are rare — complication rate of less than 2 percent — there are few to be aware of:
Injury to the intestines.
Injury to the common bile duct.
Damage to the blood vessels that go to the liver.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a collection of services from three primary providers: the surgeon, the facility, and the anesthesia group. All will have their own costs. Be sure to confirm all costs in advance of your procedure.
The facility cost is typically the largest and the one that varies the most. Facility fees can vary from $1500 to over $10,000 or more for the same procedure! General anesthesia, depending length and type of procedure, can cost between $500 to $3,500. Physicians fees can also vary from approximately $500 to $2,500 or more. In rare cases, your physician may order a lab study of a tissue specimen found during surgery. This may cost an additional $100 to $500.
The choice of provider for your cholecystectomy will directly impact your costs – even if you have insurance. Study after study from groups both inside and outside the healthcare industry have shown that cost does not correlate with quality. So, paying more for your gallbladder remove surgery does not mean you are receiving better care.
Uninsured patients are very strongly advised to negotiate all pricing in advance, and be sure it is documented. Many providers will offer 30 – 80 percent discounts off of their “Charges.” This is the medical term for their List Price — for uninsured or self-pay patients. Depending the patient’s circumstances, they may qualify for additional patient assistance. (See our Patient Assist Program for a program that can save you 80 percent on gallbladder removal surgery.)
Insured patients are not likely to be able to negotiate any additional discounts. Your insurance company has pre-negotiated “contracted rates” with each provider. The portion of those rates that you will pay depends on many different variables such as your deductible, co-pays, and co-insurance. It will also vary depending on if the provider is considered “In Network” or “Out of Network.” Contact your insurance company in advance and ask for their assistance determining your costs. For more information on cholecystectomy in your area, please see our Medical Pricing Directory.
Not only do different physicians and facilities offer varying price structures, but prices can vary greatly from region to region. Sometimes traveling to a different city can save thousands, even when travel costs are taken into account. Please contact our Patient Assist Concierge Team for more information on how to shop for gallbladder removal surgery.
What is the recovery time for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
Depending on the type of procedure — open or laparoscopic — recovery times vary. Full recovery usually takes four to six weeks, but most patients can go back to work within a week for laparoscopic surgery. You will need to wait longer before beginning strenuous exercise. Ask your doctor for information specific to your condition.
Will I have to change my diet after a cholecystectomy?
Because your gallbladder plays such an important role in digestion, you will most likely need to change your diet — both what you eat and how you eat. Here are a few suggestions:
Eat smaller meals more frequently. This allows a smaller amount of bile to mix with the food you eat. There won’t be enough bile for larger meals. Add lean protein, such as fish and non-fat dairy to each meal.
Avoid foods that are high in fat. This includes fried foods and fatty meats and sauces, to name a few. Look for foods that contain three grams of fat or less per serving.
Increase your intake of fiber over a few weeks. While this reduces occurrences of diarrhea and constipation, it can also increase gassiness and cramping, so go slowly.
What happens during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy examination/consultation?
Before you schedule your procedure, your physician will perform a physical examination also called a consultation or consult, including diagnostic tests when necessary. Make sure you share all pertinent health information with your doctor before the surgery, such as:
Medications (including vitamins).
Medical conditions, such as heart and lung conditions and bleeding disorders.
Pregnancy (or if you think you might be pregnant).
Patients who travel to another city may prefer to have their consult on the same day as their procedure to prevent multiple trips to the provider. In these cases, you may be required to submit more information to the provider in advance of your consult and procedure. Not all patients may be eligible for a consult on the day of their procedure.
Is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy an outpatient surgery?
Though laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis — day surgery — there is a chance that you may have to stay overnight in the hospital. For example, if heavy bleeding occurs or the surgeon needs to make a longer incision than originally planned, you may have to stay overnight in the hospital. It’s best to come prepared with toiletries and a change of clothes.
What types of diagnostic tests might be taken during my cholecystectomy consult?
There are a variety of tests you might have to undergo before your gallbladder removal surgery.
Abdominal ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to determine if you have gall stones and their location. The doctor can also gain information about the bile ducts during these tests.
HIDA Scan: For this test, a radioactive isotope is injected into a vein and you will be monitored for approximately one hour. This will show how well the gallbladder empties and can also reveal any blockage in the cystic duct.
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography): This test is used to find gallstones lodged in the bile duct. It is performed using a duodenoscope — a fiberoptic tube that is inserted into the patient’s mouth and down into the small intestine. Dye will be injected into the bile duct to find gallstones.
Blood work: A blood sample will be taken to look for infection, necrotic tissue and white blood cell levels.
EKG and/or Chest x-ray: These tests check the health of your heart and lungs.
How do I prepare for a cholecystectomy?
Your doctor will give you instructions before the procedure that will let you know what you should and should not do in preparation for the surgery. Read them carefully and follow them to the letter.
You will most likely need to fast for eight hours — or after midnight — before the procedure. You may also have to stop taking certain medications prior to surgery. You will also need to arrange for a ride after the surgery. Fill any prescriptions you may need before the surgery.
What happens during pre-op before laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
The provider will require that you sign an Informed Consent document. This is your confirmation that you understand what the procedure entails and its risks, and that you agree to proceed.
After signing the informed consent form, you will undergo a brief physical exam by the anesthesiologist, who will ask you about the medications you are taking and ask if you’ve had adverse reactions to anesthesia in the past. A nurse will then administer an IV for fluid and medication during and after the surgery. You will also most likely receive a sedative to help you relax.
General anesthesia: Patients often receive both intravenous and inhaled medications to produce reversible unconsciousness. General anesthesia also creates a state of temporary amnesia, analgesia, muscle paralysis and sedation. This is the most common form of anesthesia used in cholecystectomies.
Your anesthesiologist may also use a peripheral nerve block, which is an injection or continuous drip near the incision. This will block pain at the site both during and after the procedure.
What happens during the laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
After you’ve received the anesthesia and are unconscious, the surgeon enters the abdomen near the belly-button, through a cannula — a small tube. A laparoscope is inserted through the cannula. The surgeon will be able to view the gallbladder and other organs via a monitor connected to the scope. Other laparoscopes will be inserted in other incisions to detach the gallbladder from the surrounding tissue. The gallbladder will then be removed through one of these holes.
If the surgeon finds gallstones in the common bile duct, he/she may remove them with a special scope. After the gallbladder is removed, the surgeon will close the incisions using stitches, surgical tape or glue.
What happens in post-op after laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
After surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) or recovery room for observation. The amount of time you spend in the recovery room depends on how your body handles the surgery and the type of anesthetic used, though you’ll want to plan to spend the entire day there. The IV line remains in place until you can tolerate clear liquids. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable, the doctor will discharge you. You will feel groggy, possibly confused, and/or nauseous so it is IMPERATIVE you arrange a ride home.
What happens when I get home from a cholecystectomy?
Before you are discharged, you will be given instructions about care for your incisions, limits on activities, and what you should do to aid your recovery. If you notice any of the following, call the number the hospital gave you:
Bleeding or worsening pain.
Recovery from Laparoscopic Surgery: You will likely go home the same day. You may feel mild to moderate pain in your belly for a few days. You are encouraged to walk as soon as you feel up to it. Full recovery usually takes a week. You will be able to shower the day after your surgery. You can usually resume normal activities within a week — driving, light lifting, etc. Most patients return to work within seven days. Full recovery takes four to six weeks.
Recovery from Open Surgery: You will usually spend two to four days in the hospital after an open cholecystectomy. There will be pain at the incision site for one to two weeks. You may experience loose stools or diarrhea after meals for up to eight weeks. Discuss options with your doctor if these symptoms persist. You can usually resume normal activities after four to six weeks.
How do I care for my laparoscopic cholecystectomy incision?
Your doctor will most likely use stitches, staples, or tape strips to close the incision. It is important to keep the incision clean and change the dressing according to your doctor’s orders.
To clean the incision:
Gently wash the site with soap and water.
Don’t soak or scrub the wound.
Air-dry or pat the area with a clean, dry towel.
To reduce risk of infection, keep the area dry for the first two days. This may require sponge baths.
The following may be signs of infection. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any of these:
Yellow or green discharge (take note of any odor).
A change in size of the incision.
Color change around the site.
Bleeding that soaks through the dressing.
How do I change a cholecystectomy incision dressing?
To minimize scarring and avoid infection, you’ll need to change the dressing on your incision.
Lay out your supplies — gauze pads, medical gloves, surgical tape, and scissors.
Wash your hands thoroughly and put on gloves.
Remove the old dressing.
Check for infection.
Place gauze pad over the site and secure all sides with tape.
Discard used dressing and other supplies in sealable plastic bag.
How can I prevent gallstones?
There are no guarantees that you will not get gallstones, but a sensible diet may be the best protection. There are a number of things you can do to lower your risks:
Avoid diets that involve low daily caloric intake (under 800 cal. a day).
Eat a high fiber diet.
Avoid foods that are high in fat, but do not completely eliminate fat from you diet.
How should I choose a doctor for my laparoscopic hysterectomy?
Before choosing a physician, you’ll want to do research. Ask your primary care physician for a referral to a general surgeon who specializes in cholecystectomies. There are also many great resources on the internet.
As you look keep the following in mind:
Location of the doctor’s office.
Location of procedure (outpatient facility or hospital).
(To find out if a doctor is board certified, go to certificationmatters.org.)
Healthgrades is great way to find a doctor. This site has information on the doctor’s education, hospital affiliations, sanctions, malpractice claims, locations and insurance plans. You can also read patient feedback on topics such as wait times and patient satisfaction. RateMDs is another site which allows patients to post and answer questions about the doctors. Vitals.com also includes patient ratings on bedside manner, follow-up, accuracy of diagnosis and average wait time.
Who can help me find a general surgeon who can perform a cholecystectomy?
If you went to your primary care physician for your symptoms, he or she will most likely refer to a general surgeon they trust.
Your insurance company will provide you with a list of doctors who are in your network.
No matter how you find your doctor, do your homework.
Will I have more than one appointment for my laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
You may have up to three or more appointments for your laparoscopic cholecystectomy, so keep that in mind as you make your decision. The number of appointments depends on a few factors. If you went to your primary care physician first, he or she will likely send you to a general surgeon (or gastroenterologist) for another office exam. You will then have the procedure — usually at an outpatient surgery center.
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