Addressing Common Post-Surgery Concerns


While every surgical procedure involves some sort of subsequent recovery process, not every operation has the same concerns among its patients. This article intends to cover many of the common concerns that someone may have about the recovery process that follows gallbladder surgery. It is our hope after reading over this list of issues that you will feel at ease after you or a loved one undergoes gallbladder surgery.

Pain Management

While every patient’s level of pain is going to be as unique as they are, most individuals who undergo gallbladder operations use an over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen to deal with any pain in the time after the operation.

Scar Care

A cholecystectomy involves making 3-4 tiny incisions, one in the belly button and the rest on one side of the stomach; this can leave some scarring that may fade with time. Sleep on your back or a side that does not place pressure on these scars. Try to keep your scars clean to maximize recovery time. Once the stitches are gone, you should wash the incision points with warm soapy water; this will clear away debris and kill bacteria. Follow this washing routine by smearing some petroleum jelly over the area, then covering the scars with gauze or a non-adhesive bandage. The gauze or bandage should only be used for one day. If you are concerned about the lingering scars, consider covering them with silicone gels or sheets.


Vomiting, clinically known as “emesis,” happens to a fair number of patients after their operation. Fortunately, this often manifests while the body adjusts to functioning without a gallbladder and should not persist for very long. You may be prescribed an antiemetic medication as a precaution for your first few days after the procedure.


It is not unheard of to develop an infection in one of the incision points from a gallbladder operation. If you notice any pain, swelling, inflammation, or pus leaking from one of those points, bring it up with your general practitioner so that they can prescribe the ideal antibiotics for your situation.


Bleeding may arise after the operation; it may be internal, likely as an accident of not treating a blood vessel during the procedure, or external, where blood flows from the incision sites. External bleeding is easily handled by placing dressings over the parts to soak up the blood until the injuries close. If the bleeding is still concerning, a subsequent operation may be necessary to investigate and fix the issue.

Bile Reflux

With the gallbladder now removed from your body, there is a chance that bile fluids can leak their way into your stomach and/or esophagus. If you feel pain or swelling in your stomach or feel feverish or sick, you may be suffering from bile leakage. While bile can sometimes be drained away, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain the bile and wash out the interior of your stomach. It should be noted that bile leakage happens in only 1% of all cholecystectomy patients.

Post-Cholecystectomy Syndrome (PCS)

A cholecystectomy is the clinical term for surgical removal of the gallbladder. This particular situation reflects many of the common issues that may have necessitated the gallbladder’s removal in the first place.

    • Symptoms aligning with bile reflux
    • Indigestion
    • Diarrhea
    • Jaundice

PCS is a medical condition that is believed to originate from one of two situations.

    1. Bile winds up leaking into parts of the body like the stomach.
    1. Multiple gallstones remain lingering within the bile ducts that used to connect to the gallbladder.

Fortunately for most instances of PCS, these symptoms are only of mild severity and will subside after a few weeks. At its worst, PCS can endure for several months. If you have PCS symptoms that refuse to go away, it is recommended that you contact your general practitioner; they may recommend the removal of lingering gallstones and/or medication, depending on your particular circumstances.

Back Pain

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy commonly results in muscular pain around the punctures below the ribs. Sometimes the pain will radiate out to the back area, bringing back memories of the inciting pain from the gallbladder. Most of this pain will fade after roughly a week and it is recommended to treat it with any recommended pain medication or placing a warm heating pad over the area.


Cholecystectomy and the types of anesthesia that are often applied during the procedure can often cause constipation in the short term. It is also vital that you remain hydrated as dehydration can worsen any lingering constipation.

Long-Term Digestive Health

The body uses the gallbladder as a means of converting fat into bile; with a missing gallbladder, you need to tweak your diet. Steer clear of anything fried or high in fat, including sauces and gravies. Without a gallbladder to do a lot of the conversion, your liver is now the chief regulator of bile production after eating food. For those who need specific numbers, high-fat food is anything that contains more than 3 mg of fat per serving


This is one condition that may not arise until months or even years after the procedure. A hernia is the clinical term for when some tissue pokes through a weakened spot of your incision point. While hernias are far from common after gallbladder surgery, they can occur and will require an operation to be corrected.


While cholecystectomy may have solved a lot of the problems and pain in your life, side effects, and complications are always a part of any procedure. If you want to have your diseased gallbladder handled properly and are concerned about such problems or pains in your stomach or back, Valley Surgical can help. Their experienced surgeons follow proven technical guidelines and principles to ensure a safe cholecystectomy with minimal necessary recovery time. To get in touch with this group that is known for its long string of successful, low-risk surgeries on the gallbladder, simply reach out today.

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