Possible Gallbladder Surgery Complications
A small number of people have softer and more frequent stools after their gallbladder removal. This is because bile flows into the duodenum more often. These changes in bowel habits are usually temporary. Be sure, however, to discuss them with your health care provider.
Other complications from gallbladder surgery are rare. The most serious of these is injury to the bile ducts. An injured common bile duct can leak bile, causing pain, and possibly infection or liver damage. You may need one or more additional operations to repair the bile ducts. Fortunately, this is the least common complication of gallbladder surgery, and happens in fewer than one percent of all operations.
Who Needs Gallbladder Removal Surgery
Your doctor may recommend removing your gallbladder if you have any of the following symptoms or conditions:
- Abdominal pain , especially after eating
- Shoulder or back pain, particularly on the right side of your body
- Inflammation of your pancreas
If you’re like most people, you can live a healthy life without your gallbladder.
What Are The Types Of Gallbladder Removal
Your surgeon may use open surgery or laparoscopic surgery to remove your gallbladder. With open surgery, your surgeon operates through one large incision. During laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon operates through a few small incisions. Laparoscopic surgery can lead to faster recovery, less pain and small scars.
Your surgeon may recommend open surgery if you cant have laparoscopic surgery. For example, if you have a lot of scar tissue on your abdomen, your surgeon may need to use an open technique. Sometimes, your surgeon may need to turn a laparoscopic surgery into an open one to see more clearly and remove your gallbladder safely.
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What Is The Gallbladder And What Should You Know About Its Functions
The gallbladder is a small, muscular, and pear-shaped structure on the underside of the liver and on the right side of the abdomen. The gallbladder’s function is the storage of bile. Bile tastes bitter, hence the word bitterness. The gallbladder holds about a quarter of a cup of a yellowish-green, pasty material called bile. Your liver produces the bile and secretes it into the intestines. This process helps your body to digest fats.
The gallbladder, when healthy, keeps the bile moving in several ways. The mucosa, or the inner lining, secretes hydrogen ions into the gallbladder. Mucosa maintains an acidic environment, which keeps calcium from precipitating and consequently forming gallbladder stones. As your body digests food, bile is washed away by water and electrolytes.
Who Do You See For Gallstones
Gallstones dont always show signs or cause symptoms. Its possible to have a gallstone, or several gallstones, and not even know. If you do not experience any symptoms, theres typically no need to treat gallstones. However, if you experience symptoms associated with gallstone complications, you should seek medical care. Talk to your primary care physician if you think you have gallstones your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist.
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Medical Factors To Consider Before Cholecystectomy
Before the operation, you need to discuss some things with your doctor or surgeon, including:
- your medical history, since some pre-existing conditions may influence decisions on surgery and anaesthetic
- any medications you take on a regular basis, including over-the-counter preparations
- any bad reactions or side effects from any medications.
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Why Open Gallbladder Removal Is Done
Unfortunately, the gallbladder isnt always the most efficient organ. Bile can be thick and create blockages along the pathway where it typically empties. The gallbladder is also prone to develop gallstones in certain people.
Gallstones are hard deposits of substances in the bile that can get stuck inside the gallbladder and biliary ducts. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Gallstones can also lead to acute or chronic gallbladder inflammation, sometimes with an associated infection, which can cause:
A surgeon will remove your gallbladder if gallstones cause significant pain and other complications.
Other conditions that could make you a candidate for gallbladder removal include:
- Biliary dyskinesia. This occurs when the gallbladder doesnt empty bile correctly due to a defect in its motion.
- Choledocholithiasis. This happens when gallstones have moved to the common bile duct where they may be stuck, causing a blockage that doesnt allow the gallbladder or rest of the biliary tree to drain.
- Pancreatitis. This is inflammation of the pancreas.
A doctor will recommend gallbladder removal if your gallbladder is causing a severe, acute problem or has become a chronic concern. Some symptoms that may indicate the need for gallbladder removal include:
Risks of open gallbladder removal include:
- allergic reaction to anesthesia or other drugs
- excessive bleeding
- injury to the bile ducts or small intestine
What Are The Side Effects Of Gallbladder Removal
Gallbladder surgery side effects
- Difficulty digesting fat. It may take your body time to adjust to its new method of digesting fat. …
- Diarrhea and flatulence. Indigestion can cause diarrhea or flatulence, often made worse by excess fat or too little fiber in the diet. …
- Constipation. …
- Jaundice or fever.
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Why The Procedure Is Performed
You may need this surgery if you have pain or other symptoms from gallstones. You may also need it if your gallbladder is not working normally.
Common symptoms may include:
- Indigestion, including bloating, heartburn, and gas
- Pain after eating, usually in the upper right or upper middle area of your belly
Most people have a quicker recovery and fewer problems with laparoscopic surgery than with open surgery.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider right away if you experience:
- Discharge or redness at your incision site.
- Fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pale stools or dark urine.
- Persistent nausea or vomiting.
- Swelling that doesnt go away.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gallbladder removal or cholecystectomy is surgery to take out an organ called the gallbladder. You may need this surgery if you have gallstones. Gallstones are small pebble-like deposits that build up in your gallbladder. Your surgeon may use an open or laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Both procedures are safe, effective options, and most people recover within two to eight weeks. Cholecystectomy is a common treatment for gallstones. You can live well without your gallbladder.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/08/2021.
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Gallbladder Disease Treatment Risks And Diet
One option for gallbladder disease treatment are drugs: they are prescribed for small stones or if a person cannot tolerate surgery.Another option is gallbladder removal surgery, which is most often the solution for gallbladder problems. The treatment involves removing the gallbladder, and in most cases, this is done by using laparoscopic surgery.
However, even after surgery certain risks are still present. Since with the removal of the gallbladder, the liver may be “overloaded”, a patient must reduce all kinds of chemical overload on the liver, which includes:
- Pre-packaged food
- Minimizing the use of perfumes
- Cosmetics and even some personal care products
To avoid any complications, patients must strictly adhere to an albeit unofficial “cholecystectomy diet“, which means that one must eat :
- Foods high in fiber and preferably organic food, but gradually increase your intake
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain rice, wholewheat pasta and bread, seeds, nuts and oats
- Probiotic products such as yogurts, although it is often recommended to avoid the consumption of dairy products
The following products should be avoided, on the other hand:
- Drinks containing caffeine
- Foods that make the problems worse such as spicy or fatty foods
- Refined carbohydrates
- Hydrogenated oils
What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Gallbladder Cancer
If your doctor suspects you may have gallbladder cancer, you may be referred to a specialist, such as: A doctor who specializes in treating digestive conditions A surgeon who operates on the liver or gallbladder. A doctor who specializes in treating cancer
When to see a doctor for gallstones symptoms?
Your doctor may recommend that you be alert for symptoms of gallstone complications, such as intensifying pain in your upper right abdomen. If gallstone signs and symptoms occur in the future, you can have treatment. Treatment options for gallstones include:
Can you have gallbladder surgery if you have diabetes?
Getting Treatment for Gallbladder Problems When You Have Diabetes. People with diabetes are usually considered high risk for any surgery, including gallbladder surgery, says Krikorian. But, in most cases, when gallstones are problematic, the best course of action is to remove the gallbladder.
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Symptoms Of A Gallbladder Problem
Several things can cause your gallbladder to fail, including polyps, cancer, perforation, abscess, and inflammation. Anything that affects the performance of your gallbladder is considered gallbladder disease. Some common signs that your gallbladder is not functioning include:
- Light-colored stools
If your symptoms are due to gallstones, one or several stones can obstruct the duct that transports bile out of your gallbladder. This is a serious condition that often requires medical intervention.
Surgery To Remove The Gallbladder
While the gallbladder serves an important function, it is not essential for a normal, healthy life. When gallstones are persistently troublesome, doctors often recommend removing the organ entirely. This operation is considered among the safest of all surgical procedures. Each year approximately 750,000 Americans have their gallbladder removed. It is also the only treatment method that eliminates the possibility that other gallstones will develop in the future.
When the gallbladder has been removed, bile flows directly from the liver into the small intestine, and this sometimes leads to diarrhea. Because bile no longer accumulates in the gallbladder, quantities of the digestive fluid cannot be stored up and used to break down an especially fatty meal. This condition is not considered serious, however, and can be corrected by simply limiting fat in the diet.
In the past, removal of the gallbladder was done through traditional open surgery, which requires surgeons to make a large incision in the abdomen. Patients faced a two- or three-day hospital stay plus several weeks of recovery at home.
Today, however, the most commonly used surgical technique is a much simpler approach known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The doctor makes several small incisions in the abdomen, then uses special pencil-thin instruments to remove the gallbladder. A tiny microscope and video camera, snaked through the incision to the site, allow the surgeon to view the operation.
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Why It Is Done
Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is the most common method to remove a diseased gallbladder.
This surgery is used most often when no factors, such as scar tissue from previous belly surgeries, are present. If you have factors that may complicate laparoscopic surgery, your doctor may choose to do an open surgery.
How Can I Help Prevent Gallstones
You can help prevent gallstones by
- adjusting your eating plan to include more foods high in fiber and healthy fats, fewer refined carbohydrates, and less sugar
- losing weight safely if you are overweight or have obesity
- maintaining a healthy weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity
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Recovering From Gallbladder Removal Surgery
It doesn’t usually take long to recover from keyhole surgery to remove your gallbladder.
Most people can leave hospital the same day or the next morning.
You’ll probably be able to return to most of your normal activities within 2 weeks.
It takes longer to recover from open surgery. You may need to stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days and it could be 6 to 8 weeks before you’re feeling back to normal.
Do I Need To Change My Diet After Gallbladder Removal
Although your gallbladder is not essential, it helps you digest fatty foods. Immediately after gallbladder removal, youll need to avoid fatty and fried foods.
To avoid discomfort, fat calories after surgery should make up no more than 30% of your diet. In the weeks after surgery, reintroduce high-fiber foods slowly. Whole grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables may cause severe bloating or gas if you eat too much too quickly.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Gallbladder Disease
Most gallbladder disease ends in surgery , but youll be in good company if it comes to that. Most people recover quickly and dont have long-term side effects from the surgery. You may have some temporary digestive difficulties while recovering. You might have to avoid fatty foods at first while your body is adjusting to the lack of a gallbladder. Most people are able to resume a normal but healthy diet after a few months.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gallbladder disease can sneak up on you. By the time you have symptoms, it may already be serious. Fortunately, most gallbladder diseases are easily treated with minimally-invasive surgery. The important thing is to take symptoms seriously, even if they arent severe. You may have mild passing biliary pain that seems to resolve itself, but this can become a persistent and growing problem. Dont wait for the intense alarm symptoms of acute cholecystitis, or for the long-term damage caused by chronic cholecystitis. Your healthcare provider can locate and often remove problematic gallstones through common outpatient testing procedures.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2022.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal Surgery For Gallstones
removes the gallbladder through several small cuts in the belly. The surgeon inflates your belly with air or carbon dioxide in order to see clearly.
The surgeon inserts a lighted scope attached to a video camera into one incision near the belly button. The surgeon then uses a video monitor as a guide while inserting surgical tools into the other incisions to remove your gallbladder.
Before the surgeon removes the gallbladder, you may have a special X-ray procedure called intraoperative cholangiogram. It shows the anatomy of the bile ducts.
The surgery usually takes 2 hours or less. You will need general anesthesia.
After surgery, bile flows from the liver through the common bile duct. It then flows into the small intestine. Without a gallbladder, the body can no longer store bile between meals. In most people, this has little or no effect on digestion.
In 5 to 10 out of 100 laparoscopic gallbladder surgeries in the United States, the surgeon needs to switch to an open surgery that requires a larger incision. footnote 1 This can happen when there are problems such as unexpected inflammation, scar tissue, injury, and bleeding.
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Immediately After Gallbladder Surgery
After a gallbladder operation, you can expect to:
- feel mild pain in your shoulder from the carbon dioxide gas
- receive pain-relieving medications
- be encouraged to cough regularly to clear your lungs from the general anaesthetic
- be encouraged to walk around as soon as you feel able
- stay overnight in hospital, if you had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy
- stay up to eight days in hospital, if you had open surgery.
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:
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Who Needs To Have Their Gallbladder Removed
People who have gallstones may need gallbladder removal. Gallstones are small, pebble-like deposits that build up in your gallbladder. Gallstones are typically made of bile byproducts called cholesterol or bilirubin. The stones usually form because of an imbalance in the substances that create bile.
Some people dont feel gallstones or know they have them. Sometimes, gallstones block the flow of bile and affect your pancreas or gallbladder . You may have:
Why Does Your Gallbladder Need To Be Removed
You may need gallbladder surgery if you have pain or other symptoms caused by gallstones small stonesthat can form in the gallbladder. They can block the flow of bile and irritate the gallbladder. Common symptoms of gallbladder problems include:
- Indigestion, with bloating, heartburn, and gas
- Sharp pain in your belly
- Nausea and vomiting
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
The good news? You dont need a gallbladder to live, so if its causing severe problems, your doctor will likely recommend surgery to remove it.
You may need gallbladder surgery if you have pain or other symptoms caused by gallstones.
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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.