Surgery is the preferred treatment for gallbladder cancer and offers the best chance for a cure. The most common approach is radical cholecystectomy, which involves removing the entire gallbladder, usually along with nearby lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. (There is no evidence that removal of the gallbladder increases the risk of developing other cancers, despite this misconception.)
MSK’s gallbladder surgeons are among the most highly experienced in the world in using all approaches. We work closely with pathologists, medical oncologists, and many other cancer experts.
Surgery to remove only the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy (also called a simple cholecystectomy). This procedure is not done if gallbladder cancer is known or suspected. But gallbladder cancers are sometimes found by accident after a person has a cholecystectomy for another reason.
Radical cholecystectomy is also called extended cholecystectomy. In this procedure, a surgeon removes the gallbladder, nearby lymph nodes, and some of the tissue surrounding the gallbladder, usually a portion of the liver. It is the most effective treatment for gallbladder tumors that have not spread.