Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder)

These post-operative instructions are provided for our patient’s convenience.

Please call our office at (512) 467-7151 if you have any questions.

1. Wound Care

If you have a large white gauze dressing covering your wounds, these may be removed the day following surgery. Underneath will be small white steri-strips. These should be left alone. These steri-strips usually fall off by themselves within two weeks of surgery. You may gently shower the day after surgery. Try not to remove the white steri-strips. You may take a tub bath 7 days after surgery.

2. Diet

Following your surgery you should gradually increase your dietary intake. Begin with a bland type of diet, such as chicken noodle soup, crackers, Gatorade or tea, and gradually work your way up to a normal diet. Following cholecystectomy, there are no dietary restrictions, but it is a good idea to avoid very greasy or spicy foods for two weeks.

3. Activity

When you first get home from the hospital, it is important that you get up and move around your house. Walking up stairs is acceptable. If you were given an incentive spirometer in the hospital, continue to use it as directed for 3-5 days while at home. If you do not have an incentive spirometer, it is important to practice deep breathing exercises 4-5 times per day. This helps to keep your lungs clear. For the first week you should avoid any strenuous physical activity. Walking short distances for exercise is acceptable. Do not drive for at least 3-5 days after surgery. You should not drive if you have taken any prescription pain medication within the previous 24 hours. During the second week, you should continue to walk and may do light jogging exercises. Do not lift anything greater than 15-20 lbs. for at least two weeks. Following this two week period, you may gradually increase your activities using common sense. However, you should avoid any physical activity that might make your incision sore – this would include lifting heavy objects, moving furniture, pulling on the lawnmower, etc. These activities should be avoided for four weeks following surgery.

4. Medication

You should resume all your home medications with the exception of aspirin or other anti-coagulants. Aspirin and other anti-coagulants should be discontinued for at least one week following surgery, unless other arrangements have been made with your doctor.

5. Follow up Visit

When you get home from the hospital, please call our office at (512) 467-7151, in order to set up your follow up appointment. We usually like to see you in 7-10 days following your surgery. Please do not leave the Austin area for 1 week following your surgery. That way, should you have any problems, you are close to your surgeon.

6. Pain Control

Please use the prescription for pain medication given to you at the time of discharge. Be sure to take narcotic pain medication with food so as not to upset your stomach. Should you experience nausea in the post-operative period, this is usually related to pain medication and can be treated by stopping the pain medication and beginning to use plain Tylenol. If you have had no past problems with ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding or allergies to aspirin, you can use Ibuprofen. Do not drive while you are taking a prescription pain medication.

It is not unusual for people who have had laparoscopic cholecystectomy to experience muscular pain in the region of their puncture wounds under the ribs. This pain can sometimes radiate to the back and can be confused with gallbladder pain in the early post-operative period. This usually resolves after 5-7 days and can be treated with a local heating pad. Patients having had laparoscopic cholecystectomy occasionally experience shoulder pain with is usually due to the carbon dioxide used to inflate your abdomen during surgery. This typically resolves within a few days. Should you experience a temperature over 101 degrees or have persistent nausea or vomiting or other problems that you think need medical attention, please call us at the office.

7. Bowel Movements

It is not unusual for patients who have had surgery and who are taking narcotic pain medication to become constipated. This should be treated by gradually increasing your activity and drinking a normal amount of water to remain hydrated. A diet high in fiber or dietary fiber supplements (e.g.: Metamucil, Fibercon, Konsyl, Citrucel) may help. In addition, you may obtain Ducolax suppositories or Fleet enemas at the drug store without a prescription and use this once or twice a day. Alternatively, a dose of Milk of Magnesia may be used.