Gallbladder surgery recovery time

Written by jennifer s. wright | 13/05/2017

Gallbladder surgery is a commonly performed surgery. The gallbladder is a small organ that stores a digestive fluid called bile.


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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