You had surgery to remove your gallbladder. The surgeon made a 5 to 7 inch incision (cut) in your belly. The surgeon then removed your gallbladder by reaching in through the incision, separating it from its attachments, and gently lifting it out.
Recovering from open gallbladder removal surgery takes 4 - 8 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms as you recover:
The surgeon may have left 1 or 2 drainage tubes in your belly:
Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital. Do NOT drive yourself home.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 4 - 8 weeks. Before that:
Press a pillow over your incision when you cough or sneeze to ease discomfort and protect your incision.
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering.
Change the dressing over your surgical wound once a day, or sooner if it becomes dirty. Your doctor will tell you when you do not need to keep your wound covered. Keep the wound area clean by washing it with mild soap and water.
You may remove the wound dressings and take showers if sutures, staples, or glue were used to close your skin.
If tape strips (Steri-strips) were used to close your incision:
Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub, or go swimming, until your doctor tells you it is okay.
Eat a normal diet. But you may want to avoid greasy or spicy foods for a while.
If you have hard stools:
You will be asked to visit your doctor for a follow-up appointment in the weeks following your gallbladder removal surgery.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Cholecystectomy - open - discharge
Chari RS, Shah SA. Biliary System. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 18th ed. St. Louis, M0: WB Saunders; 2008: chap. 54.
Parks RW, Garden OJ. Open cholecystectomy in the laparoendoscopic era. Am J Surg. Jan 2008; 195(1): 108-114.
Updated by: Ann Rogers, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery; Director, Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Program, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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