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Simple cholecystectomy surgery, which involves the removal of the gallbladder, is a common form of treatment for gallbladder cancer. In some cases, it is the only treatment needed for small, localized tumors. However, if a patient has an elevated risk of cancer recurrence, a more extensive operation known as a radical cholecystectomy may be recommended to remove part or all of several nearby organs and tissues.

If a radical cholecystectomy is recommended, the extent of the procedure will depend on the location of the tumor and how far it has spread. At minimum, a radical cholecystectomy will remove the gallbladder, a portion of the liver and all of the surrounding lymph nodes. If necessary, a surgeon may also recommend removing a larger portion of the liver that ranges from a wedge-shaped section close to the gallbladder (wedge resection) to an entire lobe (hepatic lobectomy), as well as the common bile duct, part or all of the ligament that runs between the liver and the intestines, the pancreas, the duodenum or the surrounding lymph nodes.

A radical cholecystectomy is a complex operation that can be performed using two different techniques:

  • A traditional (open) approach – An open radical cholecystectomy is a more invasive procedure in which the surgical site is accessed through a long incision in the abdomen.
  • A laparoscopic approach – A laparoscopic radical cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgical site is accessed through a series of small incisions in the abdomen.

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy can also be performed with robotic assistance. At Moffitt Cancer Center, the experienced surgeons in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program often use the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System when performing minimally invasive cholecystectomies. This state-of-the-art surgical device provides a surgeon with a high-definition, three-dimensional view of the surgical site and special wristed surgical instruments that can bend and rotate farther than the human hand. While remaining in complete control of the da Vinci System at all times, a surgeon benefits from enhanced vision, precision and control, helping to ensure the best possible outcome and quality of life for the patient.

If you’d like to learn more about traditional versus robotic radical cholecystectomy surgery for gallbladder cancer treatment, call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment with a surgical oncologist in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. We do not require referrals.