A cholecystectomy is a type of surgical removal that involves removing the gall bladder. This type of procedure is often necessary when the gall bladder is no longer functioning properly for some reason. Two different types of removal are used, with one being known as an open cholecystectomy and the alternative known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. With both approaches, there are a few basic things that patients should do after a cholecystectomy in order to move through the recovery process and get back to the business of living.
As with any type of surgery, a certain amount of discomfort after a cholecystectomy will be present once the procedure is completed. With the laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the pain will usually subside more rapidly as the body heals from the trauma of the procedure. It is not unusual for patients to be allowed to go home after an overnight stay, assuming that the next morning they are capable of eating and drinking without triggering much in the way of pain. The open gall bladder operation will often require a longer stay as the chances for inflammation and infection are greater.
Upon returning home, there are certain precautions that the patient should take in order to aid in recovery after a cholecystectomy. This may include making sure that the bandages covering the incision are kept clean and dry. Checking for any type of discharge that could indicate the presence of an infection is also important. While it is possible to experience some recurring bouts of nausea and fever during recovery, those can usually be managed by taking over the counter or prescription medications approved by your doctor. There is also the possibility that the gastrointestinal tract will remain unsettled for a period of time, possibly triggering occasional vomiting. This can be minimized by following the diet plan supplied by the doctor and making use of approved medication when and as needed.
Limiting physical activity after a cholecystectomy is also important. Depending on your general state of health, your doctor may restrict certain activities that would place some stress on the area of the incision, and place limits on the amount of weight you can lift. Typically, day to day activities such as taking a shower or going for a short walk are allowed any time you like. The key is to assess your current level of strength and pace yourself accordingly.
In the event that you experience any severe pain or discomfort after a cholecystectomy, it is important to notify your doctor immediately. While patients recovering from a cholecystectomy are likely to experience some fever and body aches, frequent recurrences could be signs of an infection. Should you notice a discharge from the incision or swelling in the area, seek immediate medical attention. With proper rest and care, recovery will be complete anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, although the presence of infection or other recurring symptoms may stretch the recovery period to as much as eight weeks.