Recovery Time On Gallbladder Removal


What To Expect After Surgery

Recovery after Gallbladder Surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy)

What Should I Expect after Gallbladder Removal Surgery ?

Going home

You can probably go home the day you have your surgery, or you might stay in the hospital overnight. You need to be able to drink liquids before you go home.

Will I be in pain?

You will feel some pain after surgery. Pain at the incision sites and in your abdomen is common. You might also have pain in your shoulders. This is from the air put into your abdomen during the operation. The shoulder pain should go away in 24 to 48 hours.

You can take non-prescription medications to relieve pain, unless your doctor tells you not to. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are examples of non-prescription pain medications. Putting ice on your incisions can also help. Ask your doctor or nurse about the correct way to use ice.

Your surgeon might prescribe a small amount of narcotic pain medicine to help you with pain. Many people recover from surgery without taking any narcotic pain medicine, but some will need narcotics for a few days. If you have questions about pain after surgery, ask the surgeon or your nurses. They should be able to tell you how long the pain will last and what to expect.

You might feel sick to your stomach or throw up after your surgery. Having surgery and anesthesia can make this happen. You should feel better in a day or two. Tell your doctor or nurse if you keep vomiting or feeling nauseated.


You can probably go back to normal activity about a week after laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

What Is A Gallbladder Removal

Gallbladder removal is a very common procedure that is performed if you have painful gallstones or your gallbladder is diseased or damaged.

Your gallbladder is not essential for your body to function, so if you develop problems with it, surgery is often recommended to remove it. It is a small, pouch-like organ connected to your liver and your intestines by tubes called bile ducts. It stores a fluid called bile that helps your digestion, mainly of fats. Sometimes the chemicals in bile form small stones, known as gallstones, that may block the flow of bile and irritate your gallbladder or pancreas.

Your doctor may recommend removing your gallbladder if gallstones are causing: pain, your skin and the whites of your eyes to become yellow or, inflammation of your pancreas. Other reasons may include gallbladder cancer.

If your gallbladder is removed the bile will flow from your liver directly to your intestines and normal digestion will continue.

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.

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What Is A Cholecystectomy

A cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder.

The gallbladder is a small organ under your liver. It is on the upper right side of your belly or abdomen. The gallbladder stores a digestive juice called bile which is made in the liver.

There are 2 types of surgery to remove the gallbladder:

  • Open method. In this method, 1 cut about 4 to 6 inches long is made in the upper right-hand side of your belly. The surgeon finds the gallbladder and takes it out through the incision.

  • Laparoscopic method. This method uses 3 to 4 very small incisions. It uses a long, thin tube called a laparoscope. The tube has a tiny video camera and surgical tools. The tube, camera and tools are put in through the incisions. The surgeon does the surgery while looking at a TV monitor. The gallbladder is removed through 1 of the incisions.

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is less invasive. That means it uses very small incisions in your belly. There is less bleeding. The recovery time is usually shorter than an open surgery.

In some cases the laparoscope may show that your gallbladder is very diseased. Or it may show other problems. Then the surgeon may have to use an open surgery method to remove your gallbladder safely.

Life After The Gallbladder Is Removed

Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Time

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.

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Super Helpful Tips To Prevent Discomfort Post Gallbladder Surgery

If youre having your gallbladder removed, you may be focused on the procedure itself and on preparing for it. But knowing how to take care of yourself after your operation is just as important.

Here at Desert West Surgery in Las Vegas, well do everything we can to minimize your discomfort before, during, and after your gallbladder surgery. In this blog, we want to share three helpful tips you can use to stay comfortable after surgery.

Why Is A Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Performed

The main reason for having a gallbladder removed is the presence of gallstones and the complications they cause.

The presence of gallstones is called cholelithiasis. Gallstones form inside the gallbladder from substances in the bile that become solid. They can be as small as a grain of sand and as large as a golf ball.

You might also need this type of surgery if you have the following:

  • biliary dyskinesia, which occurs when the gallbladder doesnt empty bile correctly due to a defect
  • choledocholithiasis, which occurs when gallstones move to the common bile duct and potentially cause a blockage that prevents the gallbladder and rest of the biliary tree from draining
  • cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the gallbladder
  • pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas that is related to gallstones

Laparoscopic surgery is preferred to open surgery because your surgeon makes smaller incisions. Smaller incisions reduce your risk of infection, bleeding, and recovery time.

Youll undergo different tests beforehand to ensure that youre healthy enough for the procedure. These will include:

Tell your doctor if youre taking any medications, including over-the-counter medicines or nutritional supplements. You may have to stop taking certain medications before surgery. Also, tell your doctor if youre pregnant or think you could be pregnant.

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How Does Your Body Adapt After Gallbladder Removal

The role of the gallbladder is important indigestion, but fortunately, your liver can take on that role over time. The liver will continue to produce enough bile to aid in digestion. Yet without the gallbladder, there is no place to store the bile between meals.

This means that your liver will need to produce more bile in real-time, as you eat. Over time, it will become quicker at doing so. And your bile ducts may even enlarge to provide room for bile storage in the absence of the gallbladder.

Traditional Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Time

Gallbladder Removal Surgery Recovery Experience & Symptoms of Gallstones

With traditional gallbladder surgery, the patient may be required to stay in the hospital for several days. This is to ensure the incision begins healing properly and to safeguard against infection. During this time the doctor and hospital staff will monitor your pain levels and adjust your pain killer accordingly.

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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.

Is Gallbladder Surgery The Only Treatment For Gallstones

Although there may be a chance that medications could be helpful, they havent been scientifically proven effective. Your provider may recommend surgery if your gallbladder causes you problems from gallstones. Depending on your general health, you may not need treatment if your gallstones dont cause any symptoms.

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Open Surgery To Remove The Gallbladder

You may have to have open surgery if keyhole surgery isn’t possible. You might also need open surgery if an unexpected complication happens.

Keyhole surgery may not always be recommended.

You doctor may tell you not to have keyhole surgery if you:

  • are in the last 3 months of pregnancy
  • are extremely overweight
  • have an unusual gallbladder or bile duct structure that makes keyhole surgery difficult

If this is the case, you may have open surgery to remove the gallbladder. The medical name for this is an open cholecystectomy.

Recovery After Gallbladder Removal Tip : Get Out Of Bed And Walk Around

Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Time

Light activity after surgery, such as walking, can aid in your recovery. After a laparoscopic gallbladder removal, some of the carbon dioxide used during surgery might have remained in your abdomen, causing pain in your stomach and shoulders. Staying mobile after your gallbladder removal can help ease gas-related discomfort.

Try to get out of bed as soon as you can after surgery. Increase activity according to your doctors recommendations and your personal comfort levels. However, you should take care not to push yourself too hard, as that could potentially cause further injury.

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What Are The Possible Complications Of Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

You will probably go back to normal activities within one week. Complications are problems that happen during medical care or after it. Most people who have laparoscopic gallbladder removal have few complications or none at all.

Complications of laparoscopic gallbladder removal do not happen often. They can include bleeding, infection in the surgery area, hernias, blood clots, and heart problems. A hernia is when a small amount of your gut or other tissue bulges through the muscles that cover it.

You should also know that any surgery has the risk of hurting other body parts. This is not likely, but it is possible. Gallbladder surgery could hurt nearby areas such as the common bile duct, large intestine , or small intestine. You might need another surgery if this happens. It is also possible that bile might leak into the abdomen after gallbladder surgery.

Most complications from gallbladder surgery are rare, which means they almost never happen. If you are concerned about any possible complication, ask your surgeon.

Why Gallbladder Surgery

The actual pain after gallbladder surgery will probably be less intense than the pain experienced before surgery. When the gallbladder is inflamed because of the buildup of gallstones, the pain can be, at times, very severe, causing loss of breath and even buckling of knees. These gallstones, if left for a long period of time, can also be life-threatening.

Surgery for gallbladder removal is necessary for most situations. This surgery is also one of the most common throughout the world. In the US alone, there are over a half million of these types of surgeries performed each year! With the advances in medicine and surgical techniques, the pain after gallbladder surgery can be kept to a minimum.

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Getting Back To Normal

Your surgeon can give you specific advice about when you can return to your normal activities.

Generally speaking, after keyhole surgery you can:

  • eat a normal diet straight away you can return to a normal diet even if you were advised to avoid certain foods before your operation, although you should try to have a generally healthy and balanced diet
  • do gentle exercises, such as walking but be careful not to push yourself too hard, too soon and ask your surgeon or GP for advice about returning to more strenuous exercise
  • drive again after a week or so but first make sure you can wear a seatbelt and practise an emergency stop without feeling any discomfort
  • have sex as soon as you feel up to it but try not to place weight on your wounds until they have healed
  • return to work after 7 to 14 days, depending on what your job involves

It can take a bit longer to return to these activities after open gallbladder removal surgery.

For example, you may not be able to drive or return to work for around 6 to 8 weeks.

Ready For The Next Step

How long does it take to recover from gallbladder removal surgery?

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Recovery After Gallbladder Removal Tip : Plan Ahead For Help

Ask a friend or family member to help out with errands and household chores after you get home from your surgery. Youll have physical restrictions that will limit your ability to take care of yourself. Normal activities, such as shopping, cleaning, and cooking can be difficult when youre recovering from your gallbladder removal. Your doctor will probably want you to avoid certain activities after surgery, such as driving and heavy lifting. Having someone around to help you after gallbladder removal surgery can make a huge difference in the speed and comfort of your recovery.

When You’ll Have Treatment

Some conditions increase your risk of developing complications. You may need treatment if you have conditions such as:

  • scarring of the liver
  • high blood pressure inside the liver. This is portal hypertension and is often a complication of alcohol-related liver disease

Sometimes a scan can show high levels of calcium inside your gallbladder. If this is the case, your GP may recommend treatment. This is because this can lead to gallbladder cancer in later life.

If you have a lot of abdominal pain , treatment depends on how the pain affects your daily life.

If the pain is mild and infrequent, your GP may give you painkillers. They will also give you advice about eating a healthy diet to help control the pain.

Some people have bloating and diarrhoea after eating fatty or spicy food. If certain foods do trigger symptoms, avoid them in the future.

Surgery to remove the gallbladder is usually recommended if your symptoms are more severe.

The gallbladder isn’t an essential organ. You can lead a normal life without one.

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How To Heighten The Recovery Time After Cholecystectomy

Lets face it coping with gallbladder surgery recovery isnt a walk in the path. But it isnt a living hell either if youre committed to recovering by heeding to the doctors instructions. Below are some general guidelines that may help you recover faster and resume normal activities sooner than projected.

  • Ensure you rest any time you feel weak or tired. Enough sleep promotes healing and accelerates the recovery time.
  • Endeavor to take a walk at least every day after the procedure you can start with short distances and increase gradually as you feel better. This will improve blood circulation, eliminate the chances of contracting pneumonia, and keep your bowel functioning normally.
  • DO NOT attempt to lift anything two to four weeks after the surgery. And by that, we mean dont raise your child or carry objects like a briefcase, groceries, a vacuum cleaner, backpack, etc.
  • DO NOT indulge in any type of task-demanding activity, including bike riding, weight-lifting, aerobics, running, etc.
  • Driving is usually considerable once you finish the pain-relieving dose, but be sure to seek your healthcare providers assessment or approval first.
  • Restrain from getting intimate with your partner until the doctor gives the OK.

Other Common Postoperative Side Effects

The 25+ best Gallbladder surgery ideas on Pinterest
  • A sore throat: You will probably have a sore throat as a result of the intubationa tube forced down your throat during the operation.
  • Bloating: Blame this on the gas that was used to pump you up during the operation.
  • This gas can also cause pain in your abdomen and shoulder.
  • It takes a couple of days for the gas to make its way out.
  • It is believed that walking helps you get rid of the gas, so try not to stay in bed or on the couch all day.
  • Constipation: This is a common problem after gallbladder surgery.
  • Some painkillers are known to cause constipation.
  • Take advice from your doctor. They will probably give you a stool softener to help ease it.
  • It is important to note that not everybody is the same. What you experience may differ from what I just described. If you would like to add something, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.

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