Gallbladder removal surgery, or cholecystectomy, is often an answer for patients suffering from chronic, painful gallstones. It can also be a treatment option for other gallbladder conditions such as inflammation and bile issues. Most gallbladder surgeries are performed laparoscopically, through a series of small incisions in the abdomen. However, some are performed using traditional, or open, gallbladder removal surgery, through one larger incision. You will need to take special care during your recovery after gallbladder removal surgery to avoid complications and discomfort.
After gallbladder removal surgery, it’s normal to experience bruising or redness around your incisions, a sore throat from the breathing tube, nausea, or vomiting. If you had a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, you may also feel some pain in your abdomen or shoulder. Here are five tips to help minimize post-surgery pain and speed up your recovery after gallbladder removal surgery.
Recovery after gallbladder removal tip 1: Get out of bed and walk around
Light activity after surgery, such as walking, can aid in your recovery. After a laparoscopic gallbladder removal, some of the carbon dioxide used during surgery might have remained in your abdomen, causing pain in your stomach and shoulders. Staying mobile after your gallbladder removal can help ease gas-related discomfort.
Try to get out of bed as soon as you can after surgery. Increase activity according to your doctor’s recommendations and your personal comfort levels. However, you should take care not to push yourself too hard, as that could potentially cause further injury.
Recovery after gallbladder removal tip 2: Avoid high-fat foods
After you’ve had your gallbladder removed, your body is going to have some trouble digesting fat. Your physician will tell you when it is okay to gradually start adding fat back into your diet, although patients who have had their gallbladder removed are recommended to try to stick to healthier diets. Eating the wrong foods too soon after your surgery may cause pain, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
You should also avoid spicy foods and foods that cause gas or bloating. Ask for your doctor’s recommendations about foods high in fiber. Some may recommend it to decrease constipation, while some may want you to gradually introduce them back into your diet.
Recovery after gallbladder removal tip 3: Plan ahead for help
Ask a friend or family member to help out with errands and household chores after you get home from your surgery. You’ll have physical restrictions that will limit your ability to take care of yourself. Normal activities, such as shopping, cleaning, and cooking can be difficult when you’re recovering from your gallbladder removal. Your doctor will probably want you to avoid certain activities after surgery, such as driving and heavy lifting. Having someone around to help you after gallbladder removal surgery can make a huge difference in the speed and comfort of your recovery.
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Recovery after gallbladder removal tip 4: Keep a postoperative journal
Note what you eat after surgery and how it makes you feel. This way you can keep track of foods that cause pain or bloating and avoid them to make your recovery after gallbladder removal surgery as comfortable as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep track of any symptoms that you may be experiencing. If your post-surgery pain persists or worsens, you should contact your doctor. Giving them an accurate account of your experiences during recovery after gallbladder removal surgery can help them better advise you on the next steps that you should take.
Recovery after gallbladder removal tip 5: Listen to your doctor
Following the instructions provided by your physician is the most important thing that you can do to speed up your recovery after gallbladder removal. There are clear reasons why your doctor might advise you to restrict your diet, wait a few days before you wash your incisions, or avoid lifting anything heavy. Following postoperative guidelines can make the biggest difference in speeding along your recovery after gallbladder removal surgery and avoiding complications.
It’s especially important to follow your doctor’s advice for drinking water and other fluids in the days following your surgery. After your gallbladder removal, you might have a sore throat from the breathing tube used during surgery. Don’t let this keep you from getting adequate fluids in your system. Dehydration can lengthen recovery times and increase postoperative discomfort. Start with small sips after surgery and increase your fluid intake as you feel comfortable, according to your physician’s recommendations.
Need help paying for your gallbladder removal?
After your gallbladder removal, you should focus on your recovery, not worry how you’re going to pay your medical bills. New Choice Health’s Gallbladder Assist program can help you find financing options to lower the cost of your gallbladder removal surgery. The national average cost for gallbladder removal surgery in the United States is $15,250, but the gallbladder assistance program could lower that price by over $10,000.
Don’t let the stress of high medical bills affect your recovery. Use New Choice Health’s Patient Assist program to find the best cost for your gallbladder removal surgery today.