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An open cholecystectomy requires a hospital stay of 5 to 6 days with the patient back at work in 6 weeks.
After laparoscopic procedures the average stay is 2 days; some patients can be treated as day cases. They are back at work in 1 to 2 weeks.
The laparoscopic procedure carries a reduced risk of chest infection - the patient does not find breathing so painful - incisional hernias, and wound sepsis. There is less need for opiate analgesia.
The most serious complication of cholecystectomy is damage to the bile duct. This is less common in open procedures; 0.2 - 0.3% of cases compared to 0.5 - 2.0% for laparoscopic procedures.
In about 5% of cases, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy will need to be converted to an open procedure.