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Preparing for Gallbladder Removal

Preparing for Gallbladder Removal

In the upper right side of your abdomen, right below your liver, sits your pear-shaped gallbladder. Your liver makes bile (roughly 3 to 5 cups daily) to help you to digest fat. This bile is stored in your gallbladder.

When we ingest fatty foods, our gallbladder squeezes that bile out through the ducts and into the small intestine. However, some may experience hardening of the digestive fluid in their gallbladder, known as cholelithiasis or gallstones.

Though many will have gallstones with no symptoms, some might have gallstones that move and create a blockage, leading to pain and swelling. Others may get acute or chronic inflammation of the gallbladder. When these issues arise, and further testing is done, a doctor may suggest a cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). For those undergoing this surgery in the near future, you’ll want to be fully prepared for the procedure ahead:

Before the Operation

Once you make the decision to go ahead with the surgery, your surgeon will explain the procedure and answer any fears or concerns you may have. Most recently, laparoscopic cholecystectomy has been the more common method. In some cases, they may start with a laparoscopic approach and then switch to an open technique. Either way, both procedures, without complications, will last about 1 to 2 hours.

The Day of The Operation

Your doctor will provide you with a list of ways to prepare for surgery. These things may include:

  • Avoiding food for 4 hours before the operation
  • Only drinking clear liquids 2 hours before the operation
  • Shower using a mild antibacterial soap, paying close attention to your groin and abdomen
  • Avoid shaving the surgical site

You’ll want to bring your insurance cards, a form of ID, and a list of all current medicines. Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes, and keep any valuables or jewelry at home.

Your Recovery and Prevention

For most laparoscopic procedures, you’ll go home the day of surgery. For open removals or any post-anesthesia issues, an overnight stay might be necessary. Since you will be under anesthesia, you’ll want to make sure you have help around the home. It may take two days for the effects of the anesthesia to wear off, so avoid driving.

Your activity should be slowly increased, and you should be back to your routine within 1 to 3 weeks, with many returning to work one week after surgery. You should also avoid heavy lifting and be sure to practice proper wound care. If you happen to experience pain that will not go away or gets worse or fever after surgery, contact your surgeon.

At Henry County Hospital, we are committed to providing excellent service. From gallbladder to hernia surgery, we cover all aspects of general surgery. We use state-of-the-art technology and offer personalized care — our priority is always the patient.