If you’ve 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.
Gallbladder Removal Surgery
When you have gallstones, it can cause inflammation and pain. If that happens, your doctor will often recommend having gallbladder removal surgery.
Gallbladder removal surgery can get done in different ways. The traditional and oldest method is the open procedure. A single, large cut gets made through the abdomen to remove the gallbladder.
Today, most people opt for laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery because they’re less invasive. That can be a single site or a four incision procedure. Your doctor will let you know which one is right for you.
Rest While Recovering From Surgery
No matter what gallbladder removal surgery you have, it will take some time to heal. Don’t push yourself beyond what you feel is comfortable. The less invasive procedures take less time to recover, so if you’re a candidate, you’re well on the way to healing.
Give yourself adequate time to recover. Don’t try to get well too soon. Be sure to rest when you feel tired because that is when your body helps to heal itself. During the first few days, you may be groggy from the anesthesia, so resting should feel normal.
Do Some Light Exercise
You want to stay well-rested after surgery, but light exercise can help you heal. During surgery recovery, you may have some abdominal and shoulder pain. Many times that happens because carbon dioxide gets used during gallbladder removal surgery.
A little light walking will help to move that around and ease the gassy feeling you may experience. Stay as mobile as your doctor tells you is okay for your surgery recovery.
Resuming Normal Activities
For gallbladder removal surgery, you may get told not to lift a certain amount for a while. Some people feel better soon, so they think they can return to normal activities. That is not a good idea because you have a wound that needs to heal.
While recovering from surgery, you can get back to some of your activities within a few days. Your doctor will let you know what you can do and what to avoid.
Watch Your Diet
You may have discovered your gallbladder issues after eating certain foods. Some people get worse pain when they eat fatty meals. Everyone’s experience is different.
Since your gallbladder helps to digest foods, you’ll want to avoid meals high in fat for a while. Spicy foods may also cause bloating. These kinds of foods can be harder to digest than other foods.
When first recovering from surgery, you will notice you may experience diarrhea. That is because bile goes straight to your intestines and works as a laxative. To make surgery recovery easy on yourself, eat bland, low-fat foods for a while.
Gallbladder Removal Recovery Journal
Some people may feel somewhat down during surgery recovery. When we don’t 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.
By writing things down, you will get to see some progress each day. That can help you feel more accomplished. It will also show you how much you have healed since the gallbladder removal surgery.
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.
Follow All Instructions
Your doctor will give you post-operative instructions to follow. Most people expect these, but they don’t always consider the directions before surgery. You will also get a set of pre-op instructions to let you know what medicines to stop before surgery.
You will need to shower before your gallbladder removal surgery. That will help to reduce any chance of infection.
After the gallbladder removal process, you may have a sore throat. That is common because a breathing tube gets used during surgery. To ease your throat, keep drinking liquids.
Water is crucial to help you when recovering from surgery. You can sip on small amounts as your feel comfortable, but try to increase it as you are able. Dehydration can stall the healing process.
If you find it hard to tolerate water, you can alternate with other beverages. Anesthesia will get used during the gallbladder removal process. Drinking fluids after surgery will help to flush that out of your system.
Take Your Meds
The doctor will prescribe some medications for you to take during surgery recovery. You may get some antibiotics to prevent possible infection, and pain medicine that helps you stay comfortable.
Take the medications as your doctor prescribes. You don’t want to stop too soon because that could make pain control difficult.
You will be able to reduce the pain medicines you take as you recover. Your doctor may tell you to take over-the-counter medications after the first few days. Follow all medication instructions to speed surgery recovery time.
Communicate With Your Doctor
While recovering from surgery, you need to stay in communication with your doctor. If you experience unexpected nausea or uncontrolled pain, call your doctor right away. You may need to get a medication change or to get seen before your scheduled follow-up time.
Gallbladder removal surgery doesn’t have to get overwhelming. With this guide, you’ll be up and on the road to recovery. When you’re ready to schedule an appointment, contact us and let us help get you out of pain and enjoying life again!