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Surgery for gallstone

Surgery to remove the gallbladder, technically called cholecystectomy, is indicated in cases of inflamed gallbladder, gallstones or, less frequently, in cases of cancer.

When it occurs in a programmed and uncomplicated way, it is usually a quick surgery, lasting on average 45 minutes, requiring only 1 to 2 days of rest and usually a person returns to his normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.

Conventional surgery
Conventional surgery
Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopic Surgery

Surgery can be done in 2 ways:

  • Conventional surgery, or with a cut, also known as open surgery: is done through a larger cut in the abdomen, from where the gallbladder is removed. Usually the recovery takes a little more time, and leaves a more visible scar;
  • Laparoscopy or video surgery, also known as laser surgery: is done with 4 holes in the abdomen, where the doctor passes the material and a small camera to perform the surgery with less manipulation and fewer cuts. Normally people recover much quicker from this type os surgery, with less pain and less scarring.

Both surgeries are done with general anesthesia, and usually only 1 to 2 days of hospitalization are necessary. However, if the abdomen is very swollen, as in some complications of gallstones, such as cholangitis or pancreatitis, a longer recovery time may be necessary.

If more than 3 day bed rest is needed, the doctor may indicate physical therapy be performed in the hospital to ensure proper movement of the body and to prevent respiratory complications that may occur after any surgery.

How is the postoperative phase

After the effect of anesthesia and painkillers have passed, a person may experience mild pain or discomfort in the region of the abdomen, which may also radiate to the shoulder or neck region. While the pain persists, the doctor will indicate the use of painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Diclofenac, Dipyrone, or Ketoprofen, for example.

1. How much rest time is needed

After gallbladder removal surgery, initial resting is indicated, but as soon as one can get up, after 1 to 2 days, it is possible to do small walks and activities without exertion. Returning to work, as well as other daily activities such as driving or light exercise should only be started after 1 week in the case of laparoscopic surgery or after 2 weeks in the case of conventional surgery.

It is also important to avoid sitting or lying down for too long, so you should take small walks around the house throughout the day. However, each case may vary, so it is important to follow your doctor's advice.

2. How should your diet be after surgery

In the first days, a liquid or pasty diet is indicated and you should be careful not to move excessively, so as to guarantee a good healing process of the surgical wound. The food will then become normal, but it is recommended that it be low in fat, so the patient should avoid eating sausages or fried foods, for example.

The gallbladder removal surgery has no relation to weight loss, so although the person can lose weight, it is mainly due to the low fat diet that is recommended after surgery. With the removal of the gallbladder, the bile that is produced in the liver will continue to be produced, but instead of being stored in the gallbladder, it goes to the intestine to eliminate fat from food and not body fat.

Possible risks of surgery

The risks of gallbladder surgery are minimal, however the most serious are bleeding or infection that can occur in any surgical intervention.

Therefore, it is recommended you go to an emergency room immediately if a fever of more than 38 ° C appears, if the operative wound has pus, if the skin and eyes become yellow, or if there is shortness of breath, vomiting or pain that does not improve with the medicine.

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