Side Effects of Gallbladder Surgery

Updated February 21, 2017

The gallbladder, also known as the cholecyst, is an organ in the human body that is not vital for survival. The gallbladder's main function is to store bile for the body as well as helping with digestion. The gallbladder stores about 50ml of bile that has been produced in the liver. Once the bile reaches the gallbladder, it becomes more concentrated than it was inside the liver. Many individuals experience problems with their gallbladder and a doctor may elect to have it removed. This procedure is known as gallbladder surgery. An individual can live a perfectly normal life without having a gallbladder.


The gallbladder is located on the left side of the abdomen, just to the left of the stomach. The gallbladder is connected by the cystic duct to the hepatic duct. These two ducts create the pancreatic duct. The gallbladder contains an epithelial lining with pouches inside. These pouches are called Aschoff's recesses. Ailments and diseases that affect the bladder include strawberry gallbladder, cholecystitis, cancer, polyps, and gallstones. All of these diseases may lead to gallbladder surgery.


If you are experiencing pain in your stomach, your primary care doctor can order an ultrasound to determine if the pain is being caused by your gallbladder. Gallstones are one of the most common gallbladder ailments. If there is a risk of serious complications along with your gallbladder pain, your primary care doctor may refer you to a surgeon. You should follow your doctor's recommendations precisely, especially if he or she recommends surgery.


Gallbladder surgery is usually done by using a keyhole technique, also known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Patients undergoing laprascopic cholecystectomy are usually released the same day, but if there are any complications, it may take up to eight days in the hospital to recover from gallbladder surgery. Gallbladder surgery is a generally safe procedure, but as with any surgical procedure, there is always a risk of complications.

Side Effects

Immediately following gallbladder surgery, side effects may include pain in the shoulders and in the abdomen. The strange feeling in the shoulders is as a result of the gas used to inflate the abdomen during surgery. The abdominal pain may be as a result of this gas as well, but is probably due to the surgery. Other normal side effects include nausea or vomiting as a result of the medications administered after surgery.


Gallbladder surgery may result in potentially serious side effects. If you are experiencing pain in your legs, vomiting blood or having severe diarrhoea, see a doctor immediately as you may be experiencing damage to your internal organs, blood clots, or other serious complications. Go to the doctor or emergency room immediately if you are unable to keep food down or experiencing severe, abnormal pain in your abdomen.

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