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Recovery after Gallstone Removal

Gallstones are hardened substances formed inside the gallbladder which is treated by gallstone removal, this can be because of various reasons like excessive cholesterol, bilirubin etc., some cholesterol stones could be eliminated with the help of medicines. These medicines may be needed for longer period of time but after their discontinuation, there is a strong possibility of these stones being formed again.

Hence, a gallstone removal surgery is the only long term solution to counter this problem. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most widely used surgical treatment for removing gallstones from the gallbladder. In case of a small surgery named as keyhole surgery, a patient is discharged from the hospital on the same or next day after the treatment. In this process, small incisions are made in the body for gallstone removal surgery or the gallbladder as a whole. Whereas in case of an open surgery,  the patient may have to spend 1 week to 3 weeks or even more in the hospital. This is required to prevent infection.

There may be certain ill effects of this treatment which continue for some days during recovery. Some of the short lived side effects include:

  1. Diarrhea : Bile which is produced in the liver, now has another route to reach small intestine after the removal of the gallbladder. This can result in some complications in digesting the food properly and the person may suffer from loose stools after eating. This problem could take 2 months to heal.
  2. Pain in some parts of the body: The gallstone removal  surgery can result in the formation of some gas in the stomach causing pain and discomfort. Few medicines could be prescribed to eradicate this problem which can take some days to get over.
  3. Aggravated wounds: There are strong chances of the area around the wound swelling up. It may also turn red and hurt. These minor effects could be treated by taking paracetamol tablets for some days.
  4. Frequent changes in the mood: After the surgery, a person may face mood swings leading to annoyance. There could be a sense of irritation without any reason or feeling of anger and frustration. With recovery, these feelings also get better with time.

Care After Surgery

  1. Looking after the wounds: This should be at the top of the priority list on the way to full recovery. The surgeon guides how to take care of the wounds when the patient is discharged.If the stitches are dissolvable, they will automatically heal completely in 2 to 3 month time. For the change of dressings and cutting of stitches, follow up visits to the hospital may be required.
  2. Diet: There are no major restrictions on food after the surgery. Though the doctor may prohibit intake of spicy ingredients for a while and may even suggest a balanced diet for a healthy living. Low fats food, eatables high in fibre, avoid caffeine and sugary products, could be some of the recommendations from the physician.
  3. Physical activities: Normally one could start walking in two or three days after the surgery. But it is recommended that any strenuous exercise only be started after consulting the surgeon. After observing the healing process and condition of the wounds, he will suggest the appropriate time to start. The routine work should be only when there is no longer pain in the body.

Medical Advice

One should immediately consult the doctor in case of occurrence of any of the following symptoms:

  1. High temperature
  2. Difficulty in breathing
  3. Unbearable pain, not controllable by medicines.
  4. Skin or eyes colour changes to yellow
  5. Wound area starts bleeding or a milky substance is discharged from it
  6. Difficulty in eating and drinking
  7. Grey coloured stools

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This write-up was contributed by Credihealth content team:

Credihealth is India’s No.1 Medical Assistance company. It gives guidance to a patient from the first consultation through the entire hospitalization process. A team of in-house Credihealth doctors helps the patient find the right doctor, book appointment, request cost estimate for procedures and manage admission & discharge processes.

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