Life After The Gallbladder Is Removed
Gallbladder removal is a major surgery that involves the use of general anesthesia. It affects your abdomen, the center of your body where many of your most important organs are located. So once your gallbladder is removed, you will need to take time to recover.
Here is a closer look at what to expect next.
How To Prepare For Open Gallbladder Removal
Prior to surgery, youll undergo several tests to ensure youre healthy enough for the procedure. These will include blood tests and imaging tests of your gallbladder.
During these appointments, tell your doctor if youre taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs or nutritional supplements. Certain medications can interfere with the procedure. You may have to stop taking them prior to surgery. Also, tell your doctor if youre pregnant or may be pregnant.
Your doctor will give you complete instructions on the best way for you to prepare for surgery.
These instructions may include:
Gallbladder Removal Recovery Journal
Some people may feel somewhat down during surgery recovery. When we dont get to do things as fast as we would like, we tend to get frustrated. You may find it helps to keep a gallbladder removal recovery journal.
A journal will also allow you to track what foods may trigger pain or other issues. It will help you get back to feeling normal because you will know what foods to avoid.
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What Should Patients Do To Treat Their Wounds
The patient should listen carefully when the physicians teach him about taking care of the wound. He will learn when he can shower again and how to keep the incision clean.
Most of the time, surgeons utilize stitches that dissolve by themselves. However, if this is not the case, the patient must meet the surgeon again after ten days. He will manually pull the stitches in this appointment.
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It Is Alright To Walk
A few days after gall bladder surgery you should be up and walking around. Not a lot of walking, but enough to keep your strength and to keep your blood circulating. The main misconception is that you should remain in bed after your surgery. This is the worst thing to do. A few days of bed rest is good, but after that, you should go for some walks.
What Happens Before Gallbladder Surgery
The surgeon ensures that the patient can go through the surgery with the least risk. Because of this, his health will get assessed, tested, and checked. These will also determine the preferable kind of surgery.
During the patients appointments, he can ask the surgeon about the operation. This way, he will learn the details about gallbladder surgery. The surgeon will also inform him about the requirements of gallbladder removal.
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Tips For Aiding Recovery
There are tips you can follow to help the recovery process after gallbladder surgery, including:
- Treating pain: Put a cold pack on your abdomen every couple of hours for 1020 minutes. Never put ice directly on your body.
- Resting: Get plenty of rest but try to walk a little each day to prevent blood clots or lung problems.
- Self-maintenance: You can take a warm shower, as long as it is not too hot. Be sure to carefully pat the incision dry.
- Eating: Eat small amounts of food throughout the day rather than large meals as your appetite returns.
- Bowel movements: You may have loose stool, diarrhea, or constipation in the early stages of recovery. Ask your doctor about how to address any problems with bowel movements, such as taking fiber.
- Avoid lifting: For about 24 weeks, or as your doctor advises, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. Typically, you should not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for up to 6 weeks.
- Exercise: Avoid riding a bike, jogging, lifting weights, or doing physically demanding exercise until your doctor says it is okay.
- Sexual activity: Ask your doctor when it is okay to resume sexual activity.
It is important to increase activity levels safely after surgery. You can do small household tasks, such as dusting or preparing a simple meal. As you slowly increase your exercise, try walking up and down stairs or taking a stroll.
Life After Gallbladder Surgery: Your Questions Answered
Are you having your gallbladder removed? If so, you probably have many questions about what to expect once the procedure is completed. You may be wondering what your life will be life, and how your everyday activities and habits may be affected.
The good news is, life after gallbladder surgery can be very successful for the patient, especially when you know what to expect. At Midtown Surgical & Skin Institute, we want you to be well informed about what you can anticipate once your gallbladder surgery is completed.
Below, you will find answers to the most common questions we hear about living happily and healthily after your gallbladder removal.
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What Are The Risks Of A Cholecystectomy
Some possible complications of a cholecystectomy may include:
Injury to the tube that carries bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine
Scars and a numb feeling at the incision site
A bulging of organ or tissue at the incision site
During a laparoscopic procedure, surgical tools are put into your belly. This may hurt your intestines or blood vessels.
You may have other risks that are unique to you. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
How Long Is The Recovery From Gallbladder Surgery
Recovery varies depending on whether laparoscopic or open surgery is performed.
With laparoscopic surgery, patients are usually able to leave the hospital the same day as the procedure. In some cases, there will be an overnight stay required. Patients are advised to rest and avoid sports, heavy lifting, and swimming for at least one week, and patients can usually resume their normal routine in about 2 weeks.
With open surgery, patients typically stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. Once home, patients are advised to avoid sports, heavy lifting, and swimming for a few weeks. It may take 6 to 8 weeks for a full recovery.
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Commonly Asked Questions: After You Go Home
What is the Recovery Tracker?
We want to know how youre feeling after you leave the hospital. To help us continue caring for you, well send questions to your MyMSK account every day for 10 days after you leave the hospital. These questions are known as your Recovery Tracker.
Fill out your Recovery Tracker every day before midnight . It only takes 2 to 3 minutes to complete. Your answers to these questions will help us understand how youre feeling and what you need.
Based on your answers, we may reach out to you for more information or ask you to call your surgeons office. You can always contact your surgeons office if you have any questions. For more information, read About Your Recovery Tracker.
Will I have pain when I am home?
The length of time each person has pain or discomfort varies. You may still have some pain when you go home and will probably be taking pain medication. Follow the guidelines below.
Can I shower?
Yes. Taking a warm shower is relaxing and can help decrease muscle aches. Use soap when you shower and gently wash your incision. Pat the areas dry with a towel after showering, and leave your incision uncovered . Call your doctor if you see any redness or drainage from your incision.
Dont take tub baths until you discuss it with your doctor at the first appointment after your surgery.
Is it normal not to feel hungry after surgery?
How can I prevent constipation?
What Are The Benefits Of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Your healthcare provider or surgeon will determine whether open or laparoscopic cholecystectomy is right for you. The laparoscopic procedure has several benefits:
- Less pain.
- Yellow skin.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gallstones can be very painful and dangerous. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy removes the gallbladder and prevents gallstones from coming back. Most people fully recover from the minimally invasive procedure in just a few weeks. But call your healthcare provider if you experience any problems after surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/19/2021.
- American College of Surgeons. Cholecystectomy: Surgical Removal of the Gallbladder. Accessed 1/21/2021.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Gallstones. Accessed 1/21/2021.
- Hassler KR, Collins JT, Philip K, Jones MW. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. In: StatPearls . Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing. 2020 Jan-. Accessed 1/21/2021.
- Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. What is Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Surgery ? Accessed 1/21/2021.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that is located under the liver that stores bile, a fluid that helps the body break down fat in food.
Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia.
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The Ultimate Guide To Recovering From Gallbladder Removal Surgery
Aug 9, 2021 | Surgco
If youve been considering gallbladder removal surgery, you are not alone. In the U.S., about 20 million people have gallstones. Not all these cases will need surgery, but many of them will.
The gallbladder removal process is a frequent procedure. When planning to get this done, it helps to know some steps to take while you heal. Keep reading for the ultimate guide to help you recover after surgery.
Days Before Your Surgery
Follow your healthcare providers instructions for taking aspirin
If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Aspirin can cause bleeding.
Follow your healthcare providers instructions. Do not stop taking aspirin unless they tell you to.
For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs , or Vitamin E.
Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements
Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements 7 days before your surgery. These things can cause bleeding.
If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.
For more information, read Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.
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What Happens During Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy takes about an hour or two. A surgeon will make a few small incisions in your abdomen. The surgeon will insert thin, hollow tubes into those incisions. The surgical team will then place a laparoscope and other surgical tools into the tubes.
Your team may pump carbon dioxide into your abdomen. This step inflates the surgical area and makes it easier to see inside. Using the special tools, the surgeon will detach the gallbladder from the rest of the body and remove it. The team will then close the incisions with stitches, surgical clips or surgical glue.
If any complications occur during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon may decide to use an open cholecystectomy instead. That procedure involves a larger incision.
After Open Gallbladder Removal
Your doctor will discharge you from the hospital once your vital signs have stabilized and you show clinical signs of recovery without complications.
Hospital stays are typically longer after an open procedure. This is because open procedures are more invasive than laparoscopic procedures. Your doctor will want to make sure you arent having excessive bleeding, nausea, or pain. The medical staff will also monitor you for signs of infection, like fever or pus containing drainage at the surgical site.
According to the Mayo Clinic, youll typically spend up to three days in the hospital while you begin to recover. A full recovery from open gallbladder surgery could take about four to six weeks.
Some ways you can prevent complications after surgery include the following:
- Walk around frequently to prevent blood clots.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Dont lift more than 10 pounds for four to six weeks.
- Wash your hands before and after touching the area around your incision site.
- Change your bandages as directed.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing that could rub against the incision.
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What Is A Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder.
The surgeon makes a few small incisions on the right side of your abdomen . The surgeon uses one incision to insert a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera on the end. This shows your gallbladder on a screen. The gallbladder then gets removed through another small incision.
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive than an open cholecystectomy. This other form of gallbladder removal involves a larger incision.
What Is Gallbladder Removal Surgery
Gallbladder removal surgery is removal of the gallbladder, which is done in one of two different ways:
- Laparoscopic surgery is the most common procedure for gallbladder removal in which a surgeon uses a long, thin tube with a light and a tiny camera on the end to see inside the body . A few small incisions are made and the surgeon inserts the laparoscope and other special tools through the incisions to perform the operation.
- Open surgery is performed when the gallbladder and bile duct are too infected or scarred to safely perform laparoscopic surgery. It may also be recommended in patients who are obese, have severe gallbladder disease, or pregnant women in the last trimester of pregnancy. In this procedure, a larger incision in in the belly is created to perform the surgery directly.
Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia.
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When To Call The Doctor
- Your temperature is above 101°F .
- Your surgical wounds are bleeding, red or warm to the touch or you have a thick, yellow or green drainage.
- You have pain that is not helped with your pain medicines.
- It is hard to breathe.
- You have a cough that does not go away.
- You cannot drink or eat.
- Your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow.
- Your stools are a gray color.
Diet Progression In Recovery
There are specific types of foods to eat while recovering from a cholecystectomy:
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid fried foods after surgery and limit foods high in fat.
- Avoid foods known to cause a lot of gas .
- For the initial few days after surgery, eat a clear liquid diet (consisting of broth, gelatin, and other liquids.
- Gradually add solid foods back into your diet.
Foods that are greasy and high in fat can cause pain, bloating and diarrhea after gallbladder surgery avoid foods that are high in fat including:
- Anything fried in oil such as french fries, fried chicken, fried fish, fried eggs, onion rings, doughnuts, and anything else that is fried
- Meats high in fat
- Whole milk and high-fat dairy
- Gravy made from meat drippings
- Skin from chicken or turkey
Convenience foods usually contain unhealthy omega 6 fatty acids and are not recommended after gallbladder removal. Processed foods include foods such as:
- Potato chips
- Store-bought prepackaged baked goods or snack foods
Spicy foods can also wreak havoc with your digestive system after gallbladder surgery eliminate spicy from your diet to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.
Slowly increase your diet from a liquid diet, to the BRAT diet . Then gradually introduce regular solid foods .
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Exercising And Being Active
I was really upset about the timing of my surgery because I had just bought a car the day before I went to the hospital keeling over in pain . When I finally got discharged from the hospital, one day after my procedure, I was very anxious to take my car for a ride. Thankfully, I had family and friends taking care of me, which also included preventing me from doing stupid things, so I waited until I went back to work on Monday to drive. Listen to your body, your doctor, and the advice of others before you set foot into your vehicle!
As for exercising, I waited a few weeks before jumping back into anything. I made sure that I had approval from my surgeon before engaging in physical activities again, which I also recommend that you do. I dont think I realized that recovering from gallbladder removal surgery was going to impact my exercise habits so much. I figured that I would have to start slow and work my way back up, but I found that my incisions were still limiting what I could do. I found that I couldnt run much because it would make my incisions feel weird, sometimes a little sore, so I stopped doing that and tried to find other things. I also noticed that I had to be careful with engaging in any activity that stretched out my right side too much. I was finally able to get back up to my regular range of motion a couple of months after surgery. Your recovery process may be completely different, but keep in mind that exercising may be limited for a little while.