Side-Effects of Having Gallbladder Removed

A cholecystectomy or removal of gallbladder is a common operation for gallbladder pain from gallstones. The risk of complications depends on your overall health, type of surgery and the reason for your gallstones removal. There are several side-effects of traditional surgery for gallbladder removal.

Here are Top 10 Side-Effects of open Surgery Gallbladder Removal

  1. Difficulty in digesting food

    After the gallbladder removal, the body takes time to adjust to the missing organ. The bile flows in a small amount directly into the small intestine. This can lead to temporary diarrhea. In some cases, the gallstones remain in the common bile duct even after the surgery. This can block the flow of bile into the small intestine and result in nausea, vomiting, bloating or fever. Check with your doctor to stop this from getting worse.

  2. Wound infection

    There is one large incision in open surgery or small incisions in laparoscopic surgery. These wounds are usually closed with dissolvable stitches or glue. The nearby organs may be injured when the instruments are inserted in the abdomen. Even the contact area is more Sometimes you may notice bruising around the wound. If you experience unusual pain after the surgery, call the doctor right away. Antibiotics are not for everyday consumption except for high-risk patients. Keep the site clean to avoid infection.

  3. Pain that gets worse

    It is normal to get sore after surgery and experience tenderness at the incision site. But the pain should not worsen. Pain of getting worse than it is the sign of infection. When you touch the incision, it pains, again it indicates infection.

  4. Blood clot

    Some people are at risk of developing blood clots. This is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and develops in leg veins. This can be serious as the clot can travel anywhere in the body blocking the flow of blood to the lungs.

  5. Bile duct injury or bile leakage

    Bile can get cut, burned or damaged during surgery. As a result of the injury, the bile is unable to perform its functions properly. The bile might leak into the abdomen or the damage can block the normal flow of the fluid from the liver.

  6. Bulging of organ or tissue (hernia)

    This problem may arise months or even years after the gallbladder removal surgery. There may be protrusion of tissues through the weak area around the incision area. Though it is not so common, hernia needs another surgery to get repaired.

  7. Diarrhea and fever

    Indigestion can cause diarrhea which often worsens by excess fat and low fiber content in the diet. Fever after the surgery indicates that the body is struggling with an infection. Consult a doctor if you face a similar issue.

  8. Damage to the bowel or blood vessel

    Constipation is common which hampers normal bowel habits. Constipation can be due to decreased activity, anesthesia or pain relief medicines. Make sure you increase the fiber content and fluid intake in your diet.

  9. Heart problem

    Those who have already been through heart surgery or who is a heart patient puts the physical stress on the patient. This added stress or tension can complicate this problem both during and after gallstones removal surgery. Gallstones and heart disease share some common symptoms – obesity, cholesterol level or diabetes.

  10. PCS if stones remain in the bile duct

    PCS stands for the post-cholecystectomy syndrome, which develops if the gallstones remain in the bile duct. There are chances that it occurs if the bile leaks into the stomach. PCS symptoms are same as that of gallstones which include abdominal pain, diarrhea and heartburn.

Laparoscopic Gallbladder removal

There are benefits of laparoscopic treatment over traditional surgery:

  • Difficulty in digestion is just a temporary problem
  • Risk of wound infection is negligible as the incisions made to perform the surgery are very small.
  • Post-surgery complications are negligible
  • Recovery is quick if you follow the diet instructions and exercises
  • The surgery is performed by experts with great precision
  • Patient can go home within 48 hours after the surgery

Dietary changes after the gallbladder removal surgery

Here are a few ways to avoid discomfort after gallbladder removal:

Stick to a liquid diet, gradually add more solids into your food routine.
  • Add food into your diet gradually: For the first few days after surgery, stick to a liquid diet. After that, gradually add more solids to your food routine.
  • Go for a low-fat and smaller portion of meals: Avoid fried foods, high-fat foods, and take small frequent meals.

Eating the wrong things after gallbladder surgery can induce pain, bloating and diarrhea. Consider reintroducing high-fiber food gradually- nuts, legumes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and cereals. Immediately including such a diet can lead to diarrhea, cramping and bloating.


Most patients feel better within a week after surgery and can resume normal activities like walking, driving or some duties at work. However, they are not allowed to lift heavy weights, until you an affirmation from the doctor. You should talk with your doctor about any medical advice dealing with the complications after gallbladder removal surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the signs that you have gallstones?

The signs and symptoms of gallstones include – pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever, shivers, dark urine, clay-colored stool and jaundice.

  • Can I get rid of gallstones naturally?

You may be able to relieve your symptoms of gallstones such as pain in the abdomen, nausea, shivering and vomiting. You can read more about the natural treatment for gallstones 

  • What do you expect after gallbladder removal surgery?

Usually, after laparoscopic surgery, people return to the normal routine after 48 hours. Avoid strenuous activities and follow post-surgery instructions for a quick and speedy recovery.

  • Can I live without a gallbladder?

You can live a normal life without a gallbladder. Your liver makes enough bile to digest the food you eat. Initially, you have to take some precautions about your diet.

  • Can alcohol make gallbladder worse?

Excess alcohol consumption is anyways bad for health. Especially, if a person has any gallbladder problem, he/she must avoid alcohol.

One thought on “Side-Effects of Having Gallbladder Removed”

  1. There are various side effects of having gallbladder removed. This can cause certain problems for a patient. I went for gallbladder surgery at Pristyn Care but there were no side effects.

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