Your gallbladder is that pear-shaped pouch underneath your liver. Its function is to receive and store bile from the liver. This bile juice is responsible for breaking down fats into fatty acids for easy absorption and assimilation into body cells.
If the gallbladder stops working correctly, hard fragments known as gallstones may form. Unfortunately, these stones don’t disappear on their own. They may start to cause pain and other symptoms, and your doctor may recommend removing them through gallbladder surgery.
By the end of this article, you’ll have answers to common questions about this medical operation. Read on.
1. What is Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
It is a process of removing large gallbladders to avoid painful blockage of ducts. There’re two main types:
- Laparoscopic Gallbladder surgery: anesthesiologist puts you to sleep, and the surgeon makes a small incision in your upper belly. Then they insert hollow tubes for the passage of instruments to the area. For a better view, the surgeon pump CO2 into your belly. They’ll then get rid of the gallbladder and sew up the area.
- Open Gallbladder Surgery: in this type, your surgeon makes a 6-inch incision through muscle and fat to access the gallbladder. They’ll then remove the gallbladder. The surgeon may also close off your duct before stitching or stapling the cut. The doctor may need to drain off excess fluid using one or two drains.
2. How long can you Put off Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
If a painful gallbladder attack sends you to a hospital, the surgery shouldn’t wait. The surgeon may put off the operation until gallbladder inflammation has subsided and the antibiotics have begun dealing with an infection. However, it’s highly recommendable that the patient goes under the knife within 72 hours. That way, you’ll avoid increased complications and more extended stays in the hospital.
3. How long does Gallbladder Removal Surgery Take?
Both laparoscopic and open gallbladder surgeries usually take an hour or two. The nurse will monitor your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure until you’re awake and stable. Be sure to leave the hospital within the same day if yours is laparoscopic. For open surgery, you may leave a day after.
4. Is Gallbladder Removal Surgery Safe?
Most people and experts consider gallbladder surgery to be a safe procedure. But like in any other surgery, complications may arise. They include leakage of bile into the tummy, damage to the ducts transporting bile from the liver, and wound infection.
5. What Should I Expect After Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
You can still live normally, even with a missing gallbladder. The liver will still produce enough bile juice for food digestion. But there’ll be no place for bile storage- it’ll continuously drip into the digestive system.
You don’t need special precautions or diets after the surgery. Just adhere to a normal, healthy, and balanced diet.
6. How Long Does the Pain Last after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
You might experience sprain and soreness in the back or right shoulder due to the surgery gas that the doctor used. Allow up to 2-3 days for the gas to disappear. Take your prescribed pain medication and apply heat to the painful areas.
7. How Long Does your Stomach Stay Swollen after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
Your belly may be bloated for about seven days. So be sure to invest in oversized pants for this period. But the gas will gradually go away.
8. How Can I Make Belly-bloating Go away after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
Walking helps relieve gas and constipation as it encourages your bowels’ peristaltic movement. You may also use a heat pack to relieve the bloating and pain.
Drinking hot pepper tea is another remedy, so long as the doctor allows you. It relieves gas pains and boosts your gastrointestinal mobility.
9. How Can I Sleep after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
For the next 48 hours or so after the operation, caregivers should prop you up with a few pillows beneath your head. Another pillow should be placed under your knees for support. A recliner will prove to be so comfortable for most people.
These sleep arrangements boost comfort by supporting and straightening your back, abdomen, legs, and hips.
Things like blackout curtains, essential oil diffusers, and white noise machines can improve your sleeping environment. So install them if you can.
After the two days, you may now sleep flat facing up. Avoid sleeping on your sides or stomach for the next four weeks.
10. Can I lay sideways after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
If you’re used to sleeping on your side, you’ll need good support. It’s recommendable to sleep on your left side. The incisions are usually on the right. You don’t want to put pressure here.
11. What Can I Eat after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
Your doctor will prescribe the best diet plan. But generally, after the surgery, most people can easily digest soft, bland foods like plain pasta, boiled potatoes, dry toast, white rice, and crackers.
During the early days of recovery, you’ll want to avoid bloating and indigestion. Therefore:
- Go easy on caffeine,
- Avoid gas-causing spicy foods,
- Avoid fatty and fried foods
You can then gradually increase your fiber intake and add more flavorful foods.
12. Can I Eat eggs after gallbladder removal surgery
Eggs contain high-quality fat and fat-soluble vitamins. Digestion of higher fat foods can be tricky due to reduced bile salts. Most experts agree that patients should go easy on them and increase their intake steadily after a few months post-surgery.
13. How long does it take to recover from Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
In most cases, patients can resume their normal activities within a week or ten days. The pain may linger for about seven days for patients who had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. But the discomfort usually becomes less within 2 to 3 weeks, compared to those who had open surgery.
14. How much Weight Do you typically Lose after Gallbladder Removal Surgery?
After the surgery, you’ll likely experience an average weight loss of 130 lbs. due to:
- Eliminating fatty foods
- Intake of a bland diet
- Intake of smaller portions
- Experiencing diarrhea
15. How much Does Gallbladder Removal Surgery Cost?
If you’re in the United States, you will pay an average of USD 8,363 for laparoscopic surgery and USD 12,000 for open surgery.
You now have answers to your burning question. If you’re looking for a qualified gallbladder surgeon, don’t hesitate to contact Orange County Robotic Surgery, and we’ll be more than willing to assist.