If you have been recommended for gallbladder surgery, you are probably wondering about the recovery process. After all, even though it is performed using a minimally-invasive technique, it is still a medical surgery. Fortunately, for most patients the recovery from this type of surgery is fairly simple.
One of the biggest benefits of laparoscopic surgery is that the recovery time is much quicker and usually more straightforward than conventional, invasive surgeries. You should be able to leave hospital on the same day as your procedure, although you will need someone to drive you home, and they should ideally stay with you for at least 24 hours as you may feel some side effects from the general anesthetic.
Common side effects that you can expect to experience after your laparoscopic gallbladder surgery include:
- Swelling and bruising around the incision points, which should start to subside within a few days.
- Some discomfort, which can usually be alleviated using over the counter pain medication.
- Nausea, which abates as the anesthetic completely clears your body.
- Bloating, gas and diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by pain in your abdomen and shoulders. The latter should pass in a few days and is a result of the gas used to inflate your belly during the procedure while the former can take several weeks to regulate.
In total, it usually takes between one and three weeks to recover from laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, but this can vary from patient to patient.
Top Tips for Recovering from Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery
Be prepared! Your recovery will be much more straightforward if you ensure that your home is clean and free from urgent jobs, and you are stocked up on everything that you might need while you heal, such as pain medications and pre-prepared meals.
Plan support for your recovery. It is very difficult to know exactly how you will feel during your recovery process before the event. By having friends or family on standby to support you, you can be certain that you don’t push yourself too much too soon, which could potentially make your recovery longer.
Avoid wearing clothing that pushes on your belly. Comfortable clothing is a must when you are recovering. Choose garments that stretch and have soft material.
Little movements go a long way. Moving around may feel like the last thing that you want to do if you are sore and tired, but actually getting up and moving around every few hours will expedite the healing process and help reduce the build-up of gas in your belly. Even if it is only to make a cup of coffee, getting up and around really does help.
Take time off of work. You really don’t want to be returning to work too soon, as rushing back before you are properly healed can cause complications or make your recovery longer. Your surgeon will tell you how long you should take off from work. If you are self-employed or do not have paid sick leave, make sure your finances are covered while you heal.
If you are concerned, call your doctor! You know your body better than anyone else. If you are worried that something isn’t right, or if you are in pain that just won’t go away, don’t be afraid to call your doctor for advice.