After Gallbladder Surgery

What to expect after gallbladder surgery

Although there is some abdominal discomfort on the first night, this usually starts to subside by the following day. There is often some bruising around the sites of the incisions and this can last for several weeks. You will be able to have a shower and wet the dressings 48 hours after the operation and if the dressings come off the wounds can thereafter be left open to the air.

When to resume work/driving/exercise

Most patients having laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery require two weeks off work. It is recommended that you have 10 days before you drive again but you will need to confirm this with your insurance company. Most people can resume exercise e.g. swimming or golf etc approximately three weeks after the operation.

What you can eat

Patients may eat normally immediately after keyhole surgery. The problem often is that having been on a low fat diet because of the presence of gallstone disease, a lot of patients start to eat normally and eat as much rich food as they possibly can to make up for lost time. It is this that can result in weight gain following the surgery.


Non dissolving nylon stitches are used to close the post site wounds and arrangements will be made to remove the stitches placed in the wounds between 7 to 10 days post-operatively. Patients are reviewed in Out Patients 4 to 6 weeks post-operatively. If there are any worries patients are expected to contact the hospital directly.

Side Effects of cholecystectomy

Patients sometimes have pre-existing acid reflux disease and following cholecystectomy their symptoms of heartburn may become worse due to bile reflux. In a small number of patients their bowels may become problematic with some urgency of defaecation i.e. the bowels become a little erratic and patients have to rush to the toilet. This is usually due to disturbed circulation of bile salts and will settle with time as the intestine adapts itself. Occasionally this does not settle and patients may require medical treatment to correct the symptoms.