How To Prepare & Recover From Gallbladder Removal Surgery

Gallbladder removal surgery – a cholecystectomy – is typically performed in order to remove gallstones. The majority of people who have gallstones will need surgery.

It isn’t just gallstones which can require gallbladder removal. There are other conditions which can necessitate the procedure, such as; biliary dyskinesia, choledocholithiasis, cholecystitis and pancreatitis.

There are two types of gallbladder removal surgery; open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. In this blog, we tell you about both of these procedures, including steps on how to prepare and recover.

Open gallbladder removal

Although laparoscopic surgery is generally preferred, open surgery can be the best option for cases in which the gallbladder is severely diseased.

You would typically undergo tests to ensure that you are in a suitable condition for an open gallbladder removal; these can include blood tests and imaging tests of the gallbladder, as well as other examinations to check your overall state of health. Your medical history will be examined.

Your doctor will give you clear instructions on how to prepare for the procedure, and these can include; no eating or drinking for four hours before the procedure; arranging for someone to accompany you and drive you home, and cleaning your skin with an antibacterial soap.

You will usually be administered a general anaesthetic intravenously ahead of the procedure, putting you in a deep sleep. After your abdomen has been cleaned with an antiseptic formula, an incision will be made, before skin, tissues and muscles are pulled away to expose the gallbladder. The surgeon then removes the gallbladder, stitches up the wound, and bandages the area. An open procedure can take upwards of two hours, depending on how severely diseased the gallbladder is. After your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room.

You might be required to spend up to three days in hospital as you recover from open gallbladder removal. Complete recovery can take six weeks. Your doctor will typically recommend these steps to aid your recovery; walk short distances regularly to help prevent blood clots; drink plenty of water; wash your hands both before and after each time you touch the area of the incision site; not lifting anything heavy, and avoid wearing clothing which could rub against the incision site. You will also receive instructions for changing your bandages.

Laparoscopic gallbladder removal

In general, the same preparation and recovery steps that are recommended before an open gallbladder removal will be advised ahead of laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

A general anaesthetic will be administered before the surgeon makes four small incisions in the abdomen. These incisions allow a tube carrying a small camera with a light to be guided into the abdomen. Surgical tools can also be guided through the incisions, as the camera relays footage to a monitor in the operation room. The abdomen can be inflated by gas, giving the surgeon the necessary space to use the tools. The gallbladder is then removed via the incisions.

After the gallbladder is removed, a special x-ray is typically used to check for any problems in the bile duct. This allows any abnormalities, such as bile stones, to be identified and removed if necessary. The surgeon will then stitch up the incisions and bandage the area. You will then be brought to a recovery room to rest as the anaesthesia gradually wears off. Most patients can go home on the same day as their laparoscopic gallbladder removal, and will typically be able to resume usual activities in about a week. You will return for a follow-up appointment, allowing your doctor to remove the stitches.

If you need to speak to a specialist in private gallbladder removals, call Achal Khanna today on 01908 305 127