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What Are the Most Common Gallbladder Surgery Problems?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gallbladder surgery problems sometimes occur after this small organ has been removed. Some of these complications may become apparent immediately after the procedure, or they may not become obvious until several days or weeks following the surgery. The most common gallbladder surgery problems include negative reactions to anesthesia, damage to the intestines, and bile duct injury. Pancreatitis, missed gallstones, and the development of chronic diarrhea are also potential complications following gallbladder surgery. Any questions or concerns about gallbladder surgery problems on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Some people may experience negative reactions to the anesthesia used when the gallbladder is removed. These problems usually result in extreme nausea or vomiting, although more serious reactions are possible. Some patients may develop a severe allergic reaction to the anesthesia drugs, sometimes leading to breathing problems, or in rare cases death may occur. Blood clots may occasionally form as a result of the surgery as well. If these blood clots move to the heart or lungs, potentially fatal complications can occur.

Injury to the bile duct or the intestines is another possible gallbladder surgery problem. If the bile duct is damaged during surgery, bile may leak into the body, eventually leading to liver damage in many cases. The intestines and the gallbladder are located in very close proximity to one another, making it easy for the surgeon to accidentally damage the intestines during surgery. Most injuries to the bile duct or intestines are noticed and repaired right away, although small tears may go unnoticed unless serious health complications begin to develop.

Rarely, the surgeon misses one or more gallstones during the procedure, causing these stones to remain in the abdominal cavity. These gallbladder surgery problems may lead to serious complications, such as obstructions or abscesses. This type of complication almost always requires one or more additional surgeries.

Chronic nausea or diarrhea are common gallbladder surgery problems and are experienced by a large number of people who have undergone this procedure. Avoiding fatty or greasy foods may help to prevent these issues from becoming severe. Some people will develop an increased sensitivity to other foods as well, although the exact foods may differ from person to person. As food triggers are detected, they can be limited or eliminated from the diet. Any persistent discomfort or other negative side effects should be reported to a doctor for further medical examination.

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Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Jun 08, 2014

@raynbow- Though diarrhea following gallbladder surgery is concerning, your friend shouldn't worry too much about it. There are different types of medications that your friend's doctor can prescribe to help control this side effect if it does occurs. Dietary changes like the ones that are mentioned in this article are also helpful in preventing unwanted post-surgical side effects.

Diarrhea after gallbladder surgery does occur, but not every patient will experience it. Those that do usually find that it is manageable and very temporary.

By Raynbow — On Jun 07, 2014

Does anyone know how common it is that patients suffer from severe diarrhea following gallbladder surgery? I have a friend who has to have this procedure, and he is very worried about this side effect. He has heard that it is very common following gallbladder removal.

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