Recovery From Gallbladder Removal: What To Expect After Cholecystectomy

  • Pain Management
  • medical management - outpatient surgery
  • July 26, 2022

After cholecystectomy, one is usually discharged within days. Mobilizing and wound care in the first few weeks is vital during recovery.

What Is Cholecystectomy?

Cholecystectomy is a surgical operation where the gallbladder, the pear-shaped organ that stores bile, is removed. There are two methods of cholecystectomy and these include open and laparoscopic. A person may need a cholecystectomy in the presence of gallstones, inflamed gallbladder, or suspected tumor. The healthcare provider will decide what type of surgical method is appropriate for each patient.

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Are there risks to be aware of?

Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive compared to the open method. However, the risks are always there regardless of the type of operation performed. Some risks include infection, bleeding, injury to nearby organs or vessels, and scar formation. Complications may include anesthesia reactions, numbness, urinary tract infections, bile leaks, or hernias. The presence and severity of risks and complications vary from patient to patient.

How long does it take to recover?

If a laparoscopic surgery was done and there are low risks of complication, the patient can be discharged on the same day. For open surgery, the patient can be discharged after a day or two. If there are any post-surgical complications, the patient will be required to stay longer and will be under observation. A few hours after the operation, the patient will mobilize and start taking liquids. Once discharged from the hospital, the doctor will follow up after around 2-3 weeks.

The necessary precautions to take after surgery

After the operation, following the doctor’s instructions for complete recovery is important. Some helpful advice to consider includes mobilizing gradually, not lifting heavy objects, hydrating with water, and increasing fiber intake. In most cases, pain is present after the operation and the doctor may prescribe painkillers. Taking good care of the wound and taking medications are very important to avoid infection. If needed, seek advice from the doctor on how to take care of the wound.

Changes in eating post-cholecystectomy

After an abdominal operation, being careful of eating habits is vital for proper recuperation. Hydrating with plenty of water is necessary. Foods to include in the diet are fiber, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. During the first week after surgery, avoid consuming fatty foods, caffeine, sugar, or dairy. To help recuperate better, eat smaller meals.

When can I resume activities?

The amount of time to achieve full recovery varies from person to person. Walking after a few hours of operation is necessary to avoid blood clot formation. Usually, one can resume work and driving about a week after the operation, but consult the doctor first. Avoid lifting any heavy objects for a few weeks and stop doing any activity that causes pain. Speak to the doctor for any advice on specific activities or diet recommendations.

When to call a doctor right away

Although not every patient experiences extreme risks and complications, being aware of the signs is important. Consult the doctor if experiencing high fever, chills, severe abdominal pain, yellow skin, vomiting, or constipation. If experiencing swelling, malodor, or bleeding around the incision site, seek medical attention right away.

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