When the gallbladder stones are big enough it can lead to bile build-up inside the gallbladder. Eventually, this can lead to gallbladder becoming infected and inflated. This is known as acute cholecystitis. To prevent such infection, one should get rid of gallstones right away.
A cholecystectomy or removal of the gallbladder is a common operation for gallbladder pain from gallstones. However, 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 the Top 10 Side-Effects of Gallbladder Removal
Difficulty in digesting food
After the gallbladder removal, the body takes time to adjust to the missing organ. Therefore, the bile flows in a small amount directly into the small intestine. This can lead to temporary diarrhea.
In some cases, gallbladder stones 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. Thus, check with your doctor to stop this from getting worse.
There is one large incision in open surgery or small incisions in laparoscopic surgery. After the surgery, these wounds are usually closed with dissolvable stitches or glue.
The nearby organs may be injured when the instruments are inserted into the abdomen. Even the contact area is more. In addition to this, 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. Hence, keep the site clean to avoid infection.
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. If the pain is getting worse then it is a sign of infection. When you touch the incision, if it pains, it again indicates infection.
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.
Bile duct injury or bile leakage
The bile duct can get cut, burned, or damaged during the surgery. As a result of the injury, the bile duct 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.
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.
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.
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.
Patients with a history of heart surgery or who are heart patients can put physical stress on the patient. This added stress or tension can complicate this problem both during and after gallbladder stones removal surgery. Gallbladder stones and heart disease share some common symptoms – obesity, cholesterol level, or diabetes.
PCS (Post Cholecystectomy Syndrome) if stones remain in the bile duct
PCS stands for the post-cholecystectomy syndrome, which develops if the gallbladder stones are stuck in the bile duct. This increases the chances of bile leaks into the stomach. PCS symptoms are the same as that of gallbladder stones which include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and heartburn.
Also Read: Gallbladder Removal Complications
Recovery After Gallbladder Surgery
Unless there are no complications after the gallbladder removal, the recovery should go smoothly.
After the surgery, the doctor will keep you in the hospital for three to five days if undergo open surgery. For laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the patient can go back home on the same day of the surgery.
Here are some pointers you should keep in mind-
- Try not to physically strain yourself for at least two weeks.
- You should know how to clean the wounds and look out for infection.
- Consume only a liquid or bland diet for the first few days.
- Drink liquids throughout the day.
- Limit highly salty, sweety, spicy, or fatty foods for a couple of weeks.
- Increase your fiber intake for proper digestion but limit the consumption of nuts, seeds, whole grains, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.
Sometimes during the recovery period, patients can develop some symptoms that should not be ignored. Here are some symptoms-
- Pain that doesn’t cure over time
- Abdominal pain that develops again
- Intense nausea or vomiting
- Unable to pass gas or stools
Advantages of Laparoscopic Gallbladder removal
There are benefits of laparoscopic treatment over traditional surgery:
- Difficulty in digestion is just a temporary problem.
- The 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 dietary instructions and post-surgery tips.
- The surgery is performed by experts with great precision.
- The patient can go home within 48 hours after the surgery.
Dietary changes after the gallbladder removal surgery
Here are a few dietary changes to avoid discomfort after gallbladder removal:
- Add solid food to your diet plan gradually: For the first few days after surgery, stick to a liquid diet. Then, gradually move to solid food in your 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.
Also Read: Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Tips
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.
At Pristyn Care clinics, doctors are specialized in performing laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery. Don’t wait anymore and give us a call today.
Q. Can I live without a gallbladder?
A. 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.
Q. Can I get rid of gallstones naturally?
A. You may be able to relieve your symptoms of gallstones such as pain in the abdomen, nausea, shivering, and vomiting. You can treat these symptoms naturally but not get rid of them.
Q. What do you expect after gallbladder removal surgery?
A. 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.