Gallbladder surgery recovery time

Written by jennifer s. wright
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Gallbladder surgery is a commonly performed surgery. The gallbladder is a small organ that stores a digestive fluid called bile.

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The gallbladder is removed to relieve symptoms related to gallstones and inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas.


The two types of gallbladder surgery are laparoscopic cholecystectomy and a traditional or open cholecystectomy. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive involving three to four small incisions as opposed to a traditional cholecystectomy which involves a six-inch incision.

Length of Surgery

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy or a traditional cholecystectomy each take about one to two hours to perform.

Recovery Time

After a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, recovery time is about one week, and you can usually return to work in a few days. After a traditional cholecystectomy, recovery time is about four to six weeks, and you can usually return to work in about a week or longer.


The risk of complications during gallbladder surgery are unlikely, but can include a bile leak, bleeding, blood clots, heart problems, infection, inflammation of the pancreas, pneumonia and damage to nearby organs. Although extremely rare, organ damage can lead to death.

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