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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy in Children


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your child's gallbladder.


Before your child's surgery:

  • A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein to give him medicine or liquids.
  • Antibiotics may be given to help prevent an infection.
  • Your child may need to urinate just before surgery so his bladder is empty.
  • General anesthesia will be used to keep him asleep and free from pain during surgery. The medicine may be given through an IV, a mask, or a tube placed down his throat.

During your child's surgery:

  • The healthcare provider will make between 1 and 4 small incisions in your child's abdomen or navel. He will insert the surgical tools and laparoscope into the incisions. The camera attached to the laparoscope will display images of your child's abdominal organs on a nearby monitor. The healthcare provider will fill your child's abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to make it swell. This lets him see the organs better and gives him room to move the surgical tools around.
  • Your child's healthcare provider will look for and remove gallstones in and around his gallbladder. He will carefully remove your child's gallbladder through one of the incisions. The carbon dioxide will be released from his abdomen. The incisions will be stitched or closed with adhesive strips, then covered with bandages.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a recovery room until he is fully awake. Healthcare providers will watch him for any problems. Do not let your child get out of bed until his healthcare provider says it is okay. Your child will probably stay in the hospital for 1 night or more.

  • Deep breathing and coughing will decrease your child's risk for a lung infection. Tell him to take a deep breath and hold it for as long as he can. He should let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open his airways. Your child may be given an incentive spirometer to help him take deep breaths. Tell him to put the plastic piece in his mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Help your child hold a pillow tightly against his incisions when he coughs to help decrease pain. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Your child may need to get out of bed and walk the same day of surgery, or the day after. Follow directions about how much and how often your child should move around.
  • Your child will be able to eat and drink gradually after surgery. He will begin with ice chips or clear liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If his stomach does not become upset, he may then eat soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once he can eat soft foods easily, he may slowly begin to eat solid foods. Many children are able to eat normally the day after surgery.
  • Medicines:
    • Pain medicine will help decrease your child's pain.
    • Antinausea medicine will help calm your child's stomach and control vomiting.


  • Your child could bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nausea and vomiting are common after this surgery. Any carbon dioxide gas that remains in your child's body can cause neck and shoulder pain. Your child's gallbladder may leak bile into his abdomen during or after surgery. This can cause a severe infection or an abscess.
  • The healthcare provider may need to make a larger incision than expected during your child's surgery. Your child may still have gallstones after surgery, and he may need a different procedure to remove them. There is a small risk that your child's bile duct, bowel, or other organs could be damaged during surgery. This can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.