Gallbladder surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) is usually undertaken to remove a gallbladder containing gallstones.
Gallstones can cause symptoms of pain in the upper abdomen, usually towards the right side and often radiates around to the back. This pain can come on suddenly and last for a period of hours before slowly resolving. This is known as biliary colic, implying a pain that waxes and wanes. It is usually exacerbated by fatty meals.
If the gallbladder becomes inflamed (Acute Cholecystitis), there is persistent pain accompanied by fever, feeling unwell, and worsening symptoms.
Usually this will require hospitalisation and treatment with antibiotics or acute surgery.
If left untreated, the presence of gallstones can sometimes lead to Choledocholithiasis (blockage of the common bile duct, resulting in jaundice), Cholangitis (infection of the bile, requiring emergency treatment) and Pancreatitis (blockage of the pancreatic duct causing inflammation of the pancreas, requiring hospitalisation).
AFTER THE OPERATION:
The surgery to remove a gallbladder (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) is performed under general anaesthetic and involves an overnight stay. After surgery, you are encouraged to mobilise and can eat normal meals. Waterproof dressings are applied to the wounds (usually 4 small cuts) and there are no sutures to remove (the sutures are dissolvable).
You will be discharged on standard pain-killers and encouraged to mobilise as tolerated. Some patients may find a slight change in their bowel motions (becoming more loose) in the first few days after surgery. This settles quickly and you can gradually return to eating a normal healthy diet. You are advised to take it easy for the first 1-2 weeks and can potentially return to light work duties after that period. If your job is physically demanding, it may take up to 4 weeks to return to a normal level of activity.