The gallbladder is a small organ of the digestive tract, positioned below the liver in the human body (marked in green in the accompanying diagram). Its function is to process the digestion of fats, and store the digestive fluid, bile, which is produced by the liver.
As in the case of other digestive system organs, the gallbladder too is susceptible to disorders and diseases such as cancer, gallstones, or porcelain gallbladder. In such an event, doctors may advise their patients to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder. In fact, gallbladder surgery, or cholecystectomy is fairly common across the world. This is considered to be a low-risk surgery, with minimum post-operative risks. Here are some facts regarding the recovery period -
- Most individuals, under normal circumstances, need a recovery period of 8-10 days, after a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
- In case of an open surgery, the recovery time is slightly longer, that is, until the incisions heal.
- Generally, you will be able to resume your regular activities after two weeks.
- Strenuous exercises can be resumed after a month, after your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
Factors Affecting the Recovery Period
In case of a laparoscopic surgery, the patient can leave the hospital within, or a little over 24 hours. An open surgery may warrant a stay of 3-4 days in the hospital. No two individuals can be the same, which is why there will always be a certain amount of disparity in the recovery period. Listed below are some factors that may influence recovery.
Nature of the Surgery
In a laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes minor incisions on the patient's abdomen. A laparoscope, or a tiny camera is inserted through this incision. The surgery is performed by studying the images that are seen via the camera. In the absence of other complications, this type of surgery helps the patient recover faster, as the incisions made are very small.
There are certain instances when the surgeon decides to switch to the open surgery method during the laparoscopy. The reasons usually include inflammation or scaring of the tissues, swelling, or unnatural bleeding. An open surgery requires a larger incision on the abdomen, which increases the recovery time in the post-operative period.
Other Factors Delaying the Recovery
Bleeding: Hemorrhage may occur in rare conditions, and may require another corrective surgery.
Infections: Individuals are susceptible to infections after any surgical procedure. Common infections are likely to be treated by prescribing antibiotics.
Internal Injuries: There is a remote possibility of injury to the bile duct and organs surrounding the gallbladder. In most cases, corrective measures may be taken during the course of the surgery, but this may prolong the recovery period.
Post-Cholecystectomy Syndrome (PCS): Some patients may suffer from this condition, symptoms of which include abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea, jaundice, and fever. Usually, this condition lasts for a few days, but in case it persists, the patient should consult the doctor.
In the days that follow your gallbladder removal surgery, it is necessary to pay heed to the doctor's instructions regarding eating habits, movements, and lifestyle in general. This is the best way to ensure a speedy recovery.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.