Gallbladder Removal: Your Complete Guide to an Optimal Recovery

Gallbladder Removal: Your Complete Guide to an Optimal Recovery

Gallbladder removal can be a bit of a daunting procedure, but over 1.2 million are performed every year. If you are dealing with gallstones, the pain you experience is often so severe that surgery is the preferred option. 

But how do you know what surgery will be like and what will come after? In truth, surgical techniques have come a long way in recent years, with minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques making the procedure much less severe. Still, it helps to understand the surgery itself — as well as what your recovery will look like — before the process even starts. 

Here at Bergen Bariatric and Surgical Solutions, we ensure your safe and easy recovery from gallbladder surgery. Our provider — Dr. Mikhail A. Botvinov — has performed this procedure many times, helping countless patients find relief from gallstones.  

What happens right after surgery 

The surgery is very common, but it does require that you be put under general anesthesia. As a result, you will be asleep for the procedure and won’t remember it. The first thing you’ll do after the surgery is over is be moved to a recovery room where you will slowly come out of the anesthesia. 

After this, you will be able to discuss the procedure with your provider and get ready to go home. With minimally invasive laparoscopic cholecystectomy, you will usually be able to return home the same day. If not, you might need to stay overnight, but once you’re eating, drinking, and walking on your own, you will generally be released. 

The process of recovering from gallbladder removal 

Gallbladder removal recovery is a long process in many cases, even with laparoscopic surgery. It takes as many as six weeks for most patients to fully recover. This means being back to your old self with no discomfort. 

Pain and wound care

Pain, especially in the belly and shoulders, is normal for the first week or so. This is because gas is escaping from your body. Bruising, redness, and wounds from surgery are also common. Ice packs are a great way to manage pain and swelling.

It’s important to follow your provider’s advice on dressing any wounds. Showering is usually okay 24 to 48 hours later, but it’s best to get the official word from your provider. You’ll need to avoid soaking in a bath or hot tub for several weeks until the incision has healed. 

Activity 

You’ll need to rest and take it easy without straining for at least two weeks. Most people can resume their normal routines and activities after this time, but energy levels can flag for longer than this. That’s why we recommend taking things slow and checking in with yourself often. This way, you won’t tire out too quickly or experience a setback. 

You’ll be able to drive after about a week or two, and if your job is low stress without much movement, you may be able to return to it around the same time. However, every patient is different, and you should discuss your recovery plan with your provider before trying to go back to work or any other activities. 

Diet, stomach, and bowel movements  

Eating foods that are high in fiber and drinking plenty of water are both helpful at this time. These processes will ensure you make bowel movements as easy and non-strenuous as possible. These actions, coupled with medications you may be on, could lead to diarrhea, but it’s better to have looser stools during this period so you don’t strain.

Some patients experience nausea or vomiting the first week or so after their surgery. This is common; your provider could write you a prescription for nausea medications. Ensure you are in contact with your provider to receive any help necessary.  

You will recover from your gallbladder removal

The most important thing to remember is to listen to your provider. They will be able to give you the best, most personalized advice so your recovery will be as quick and safe as possible. 


To make an appointment at our Westwood, NJ, office, call us at 201-778-5344, or make an appointment online whenever it’s convenient for you.

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