- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Time
Gallbladder surgery used to be a major undertaken. Today, thanks to advances in science, we can have safer and less invasive surgeries. For the patient, this means lesser pain and a quicker recovery when compared to open surgery.
Surgeons can now do quite complex and advance surgeries through tiny incisions. This technique is called Keyhole or Laparoscopic surgery. When it is done to remove the gallbladder, we call it Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy.
Ever heard of the Robotic Gallbladder Removal Surgery aka Robotic Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy? Here, the surgeon uses a robot to perform the operation.
Robotic Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
The recovery time for gallbladder surgery varies from person to person. While some people are able to return to work a week after surgery, others need several months to recover.
During Gallbladder Surgery
Here are some things they would do to you during surgery:
A few tiny incisions, usually 3 or 4 will be made in your abdomen. They will knock you out with a general anesthetic so you shouldn’t feel a thing during the operation.
Carbon dioxide gas will be used to inflate your abdomen. This makes it easy for the surgeon to see what he is doing. Surgical instruments including a camera will be inserted into your abdomen through the incisions.
Your surgeon will use the camera to see your inside and maybe take some photos. The gallbladder will be removed through one of the incisions. After the gallbladder has been removed, the incisions will be stitched and dressed.
When the operation is performed laparoscopically, you are in and out of the hospital on the same day. However, issues with pain management may cause you to spend the night in the hospital.
Dr Colin Elton's guide
Sometimes, the surgeon may need to stop the laparoscopic procedure and convert to open surgery. When this happens, most people will stay in the hospital for 2-3 day.
Pain after gallbladder surgery
Does it hurt? It is not as bad as open surgery but those who’ve had their gallbladder removed would agree that is does absolutely hurt. So don’t expect to be pain-free after the operation.
You may need someone to help you at home for a few days after the operation. These could be a few days of struggle. During this time, it certainly wouldn’t be fun to:
- Get in/out of bed
- Get on/off the couch
- Lay on your side
You would probably have sore throat as a result of the intubation– a tube forced down your throat during the operation.
Blame the bloating you may have on the gas that was used to pump you up during the operation.
This gas can also cause pain in your abdomen and shoulder. It takes about a couple of days for the gas to walk its way out. It is believed that walking helps you get rid of the gas. So try not to stay in bed or on the couch all day.
It is important to note that not everybody is the same. What you experience may not be an exact match of what I’ve just described. If you would like to add something, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.
Gallbladder surgery recovery time
According to the Center for Pancreas and Biliary Disease, you will probably be able to resume normal activities within a week, so most people would make full recovery after 7 to 10 days.
You may return to work if your work does not involve any strenuous activity such as heavy lifting. Otherwise, you may need up to a month of recovery time.
Make sure you follow all your post-surgery instructions. Your healthcare team should give you these instructions and make sure you understand them. Don't rush into manual labor too soon. If you do, your body would let you know.
Remember that the gallbladder surgery recovery time is different for each person. While some people are up and about in one or two days, others need a lot more time.
Have you had your gallbladder removed?
For those who’ve had their gallbladder removed, the pain from your surgery was:
Problems after gallbladder removal surgery
Just like any other surgery, gallbladder surgery comes with a set of risks.
According to ACS the risk of bleeding and infection is quite rare. Infection occurs less than 0.1% of the time. This basically means that infection occurs in 1 out of every 1000 cases.
More serious complications include injury to surrounding organs and bile leakage. These are even rarer than the risk of infection.
Another uncommon problem is that the pain persists after surgery. There is a 1% chance that the pain still continues after the gallbladder is removed. The doctor may or may not come up with a good explanation of why the pain persists.
Sometimes, pain after surgery can be due to a stone in the bile duct. So this stone was somewhere else when the gallbladder was removed. Another surgery may be required to fix this.
A great information guide written by a fellow gallbladder removal victim
Constipation is a common problem after gallbladder surgery. Some pain killers are known to cause constipation. Take advice from your doctor. He will probably give you a stool softener to help ease the constipation.
A common long term complication is diarrhea and a sense of urgency after a fatty meal. Eating the wrong food can be very uncomfortable and even embarrassing. So you will need to watch what you eat after your operation.
I am not trying to scare anyone from having their surgery. It is important for you to know what you could possibly go through during and after surgery. I might have left out a few points, so talk to your doctor about this stuff; he might have some interesting information for you.
Why don’t you share you experience with us in the comment section?