Recovery from gallbladder surgery is similar to that of other abdominal surgical procedures performed laparoscopically. However, since the gallbladder is removed completely from the body, there are very few postoperative restrictions.
- Patient will be discharged from the surgery center or hospital on the day of surgery, assuming an uncomplicated procedure. Because of the effects of the general anesthesia and narcotic pain medication, patients will need a ride home and will likely need someone to help them for a day or two with housework and chores.
- There are no immediate restrictions on diet or exercise, however, care should be taken not to aggravate the small surgical incisions in the abdomen.
- Patients will likely not feel like eating very much for the first couple days after surgery. This will be as a result of the anesthesia and/or pain medication. Narcoticpain medication can also cause nausea and constipation. Using minimally invasive techniques and the use of local anesthetics, the need for narcotic medications has significantly decreased. Our practice rarely prescribes narcotics for these surgeries.Refer to your postoperative packet as to the best method to relieve both occurrences.
- Your stitches are under the skin. You have several small incisions which are covered with biological glue. You may shower and get your wounds wet beginning the day after surgery. No baths, pool or hot tub for 2 weeks post-operative.
- We recommended taking Tylenol extra strength 500 mg every 4-6 hours combined with ibuprofen 600 mg every 6-8 hours for pain. Prescription narcotics are only prescribed on an individual basis. If you are taking prescription narcotics you may resume driving 24 hours after stopping your narcotic pain medicine.
- Make sure to be up and around at home, to help prevent blood clots in legs. You may walk as much as you feel like and may go up and down stairs.
- You should avoid strenuous activities and lifting over 15 pounds for one week. After that you may resume normal activities as tolerated.
- Make sure you stay hydrated by consuming between 10-12 glasses of water every day.
- If you need narcotics for pain control then, please make sure to take over-the-counter stool softener. If you don’t have a bowel movement in 3-5 days and you may require an enema to relieve your constipation.
The biggest complication we look out for is infection. If you notice swelling, redness, pain or discharge increasing over the time of your recovery, if you see red lines from the incision sites on your skin, or if you develop a fever, please call the office immediately, as these may be signs of infection. You will also not be able to drive until at least 24-hours after stopping narcotic medication. Some patients will not require narcotic medication, but even they should not drive for the first several days after surgery.
Wound care is also critically important to avoid infection. Anytime you or someone assisting you touches the wound or the area around it, they should wash their hands beforehand. Do not use any ointments or antibacterial gels on the wound unless expressly directed by your surgeon.
Your follow up appointment will take place approximately two weeks after your procedure, at which point your surgeon will evaluate your progress.