A diseased or damaged gallbladder may need to be removed. There is another option that uses smaller cuts and may have a quicker recovery. The option called
is not always appropriate.
An incision will be made in the upper right area of the belly. The gallbladder will be separated from the items around it. This includes the liver, bile tubes, and blood vessels.
The bile tubes will be checked for stones. A dye may be used to highlight any stones. The tube may be opened to remove any stones. The rest of the belly will be carefully checked. This will be done to make sure you do not have any other problems. The cut will be closed with stitches or staples. The area will then be covered with a bandage.
A tiny, flexible tube may be placed in one of the cuts. It will exit from your belly into a little bulb. It will help to drain fluid from the area to help recovery. The tube is usually removed within 1 week.
In the recovery room, the staff will monitor you for problems. In addition:
You may have a tube that will go from your nose down into your stomach. The tube will help to drain fluids and stomach acid. You will not be able to eat or drink until this is removed. You will continue to receive fluids and nutrition through an IV.
When you are able you will be started on a liquid diet. Your diet will be slowly moved from liquid to soft foods. Then to your regular diet.
At first, your intestines will work more slowly than usual. Chewing gum may help.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Wash their hands.
Wear gloves or masks.
Keep your incisions covered.
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Wash your hands often. Remind your care team to do the same.
Remind your care team to wear gloves or masks.
Do not allow others to touch your cuts.
Recovery takes about 4-6 weeks. The gallbladder plays a role in breaking down fatty food. The liver will begin to take over the job but you may need to make some changes in the beginning. You will be given a food plan. It will include slowly getting back to your regular diet. Some can have discomfort after eating fatty foods. This is most true in the first month after surgery. Slowly add different foods to your diet. Focus on smaller meals. This may prevent major discomfort.