Recovering from Gallbladder Surgery

Your gallbladder is a non-essential organ that’s just below your liver. It stores bile, an important digestive fluid that helps your body process fats.

Most of the time, you probably don’t notice your gallbladder. But sometimes, bile can harden into deposits called gallstones and cause symptoms ranging from abdominal pain and bloating to nausea and vomiting.

About 80% of people who have gallstone symptoms need gallbladder surgery to feel better. So if you’re scheduled for gallbladder surgery, you’re not alone.

At the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Brian Prebil, DO, and Eric Thomas, MD, FACS, specialize in laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and offers numerous benefits — from smaller incisions to faster recovery times.

What happens during gallbladder surgery?

Our surgical team uses the Single-Site® method with the da Vinci® surgical system, a technique that requires only one incision near your belly button. 

We use high-definition 3D imaging and a magnified view of your gallbladder through a tiny camera inserted through the incision to precisely perform the surgery.

You’ll be under general anesthesia and the procedure takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Immediately after gallbladder surgery

After removing obstructions or your gallbladder, our surgical team closes your incisions. You’re moved to a recovery room, where the anesthesia begins wearing off. We monitor your vital signs as you wake up.

Our team may encourage you to sit, stand, and start walking shortly after surgery. Many laparoscopic gallbladder procedures are performed in an outpatient setting. If your vital signs are strong, you can expect to go home the same day.  

Going home after gallbladder surgery

We give you specific instructions to care for yourself after gallbladder surgery. You’ll need to have someone drive you home from the office, and it’s a good idea to have someone stay overnight with you for the first few days after surgery.

Be prepared to experience mild to moderate abdominal pain in the days following your gallbladder surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be sufficient, but our team can prescribe other pain relievers if needed.

You can generally shower in as little as one day after laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Any surgical tape or glue used to secure your incisions should disappear as your body continues healing.

Life after gallbladder surgery

Most people can return to their normal daily routines one to two weeks after surgery, with full recovery taking up to six weeks. Be sure to come to any scheduled follow-up appointments.

Once your abdomen heals, you should expect pain and other symptoms of gallstones to be gone. You may notice occasional loose stool as your body adjusts, but most people don’t experience lasting digestive issues following gallbladder surgery.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you notice anything unusual or you have any questions during your recovery period.

If you’re suffering from gallstones, gallbladder surgery is a safe, effective treatment option. Call our office in Peoria, Arizona, to learn more about gallbladder surgery or send our team a message online today. 

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