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Recovery time after gallbladder surgery

Updated June 19, 2018

Gallbladder surgery is a common procedure to remove an inflamed or obstructed gallbladder, if the gallbladder is causing pancreatitis or if there is a suspicion of cancer, according to SteadyHealth.com. Usually this procedure is laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgery with use of small incisions, as compared to traditional surgery that requires large incisions. Cases that are more complicated require the traditional surgery; however, laparoscopic surgery has fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a better cosmetic result.

Potential

Assuming you do not suffer any of the surgical risks associated with gallbladder surgery such as bleeding, infection or injury to the common bile duct, you should recover rapidly and return to normal, according to SteadyHealth.com.

Time Frame

If you have laparoscopic surgery, you will only need to stay in the hospital for one or two days, according to surgery-guide.com. It notes that you can expect a longer hospital stay with the more traditional surgery and that recovery will take six to eight weeks.

Considerations

Whether you are in the hospital or at home, the quickest way to recover, according to surgery-guide.com, is to have a proper diet. Your diet should be one that will lessen any burdens on your digestive system. Because constipation is a problem after gallbladder surgery, surgery-guide.com suggests that you consult with your doctor about which types of foods to eat.

Expert Insight

Surgery-guide.com suggests that you avoid fatty foods after surgery because they are hard to digest. In fact, you probably will be on a liquid diet for the first few days after surgery and certainly on the day of the operation. You may also experience gas pain and loose stools during recovery. During this time, you should not attempt to do any stretching exercises because this will put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles.

Prevention/Solution

According to SteadyHealth.com, there should be no long-term dietary restrictions after gallbladder surgery. However, about 20 per cent of patients report having diarrhoea problems that could last for years. The article suggests eating foods containing fibre because the fibre will absorb the excess water, making bowel movements less watery. You could also avoid tea, coffee, dairy products and spicy and fatty foods. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-diarrhoea medicine if needed.

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About the Author

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.