What is it?

Laparoscopic gallbladder surgeryis a procedure to take out your gallbladder. During this procedure, the surgeon makes 4 small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen (belly). A harmless gas is pumped into your abdomen so that the doctor can better see your organs. A long tube with a tiny camera at the end (a laparoscope) is put through one of the incisions. The camera sends a video of the inside of the abdomen to a computer screen. This allows your doctor to see and take out the gallbladder using other small surgical tools. The entire procedure usually lasts less than 2 hours.

Note:There is a chance that your doctor may have to switch to an open surgery if a more difficult problem is discovered. In this case, the doctor will need to make a larger incision, which will likely mean a longer hospital stay and recovery period.

What should I expect after the procedure?

  • Closing your incisions:After the gallbladder is taken out, the incisions are closed with reaborbable stitches and superglue so you can get in the shower immediately.
  • Monitoring your recovery:After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for about an hour or more.
  • Going home: You can usually go home the same day. You will need a responsible adult to drive you home. Before you leave, your nurse will give you some home care instructions. Make sure someone is there to take notes, because after surgery you may not remember everything.

How do I care for myself at home?
Incision care

  • You can take a bath or shower when immediately. If there is any drainage keep a sterile dressing  and keep it dry for two days until drainage stops
  • If you have strips of tape on your incision, leave them in place until they fall off (usually within 7 to 10 days). Your doctor may take them off, along with any stitches, at your follow-up visit. If the edges of the tape strips start to peel, trim them with scissors. Let your doctor know if the tape strips irritate your skin. In this case, you may need to remove them earlier.
  • Tell your doctor if you have signs of infection at the incision site. These include increased redness or swelling, pus, or fever over 101°F.

Pain management

  • You may have the following types of pain or discomfort after surgery:
    • Incision painfor the first few days. It may take a few weeks to go away completely.
    • Shoulder or neck pain for the first 2 or 3 days. The pain may get better if you change positions.A heating pad is often helpful over the referred pain area.
    • Cramping or swelling in your abdomen for the first several days.
    • A sore throat from the breathing tube used to keep your airway open during the procedure. This should go away in 1 to 2 days.
  • You will be given pain medicine (pills). Take this medicine exactly as ordered by Dr . Hansen. Pain medicine may cause constipation. If necessary, you may use a mild laxative.

Follow-up appointment

  • Your doctor will want to see you about 2 weeks after the procedure. Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment.

Diet

  • Your doctor may recommend that you start with clear liquids for the first day and then slowly add solid food over the next day or two.
  • You may have some indigestion or diarrhea, which should get better within a few days. However, it may take a few weeks for your digestive system to fully adjust after your procedure.
  • Once you’re back to normal, eat a balanced diet.

Rest and activity

  • You are likely to feel tired the day of surgery, so rest that day.
  • For the next 3 to 5 days, get up and walk 4 to 5 times each day. This will improve the blood flow in your legs and reduce the risk of blood clots or muscle soreness. Deep breathing for the first few days after surgery is also helpful.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or exercise for the first 7 days or so. You can get back to work and your other daily activities as you can tolerated after that time.

When should I call Dr Hansen at 801-523-6177?

  • You can’t urinate within 8 to 10 hours after surgery or have no bowel movements after 3 days.
  • You have severe or increasing pain, or pain you can’t control.
  • You have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that doesn’t go away within a few days.
  • Your stomach feels swollen or severely bloated.
  • You feel faint or light-headed, even when lying down.
  • You have chills or a fever over 101°F.
  • You have increased redness or swelling at your incision sites.
  • You have a large amount of bleeding.
  • You have jaundice (yellow eyes or skin).
  • You feel short of breath.
  • You have pain or swelling in your lower leg.