Are you suffering from chronic pain due to gallstones? If so, you may be a good candidate for gallstone removal surgery. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can block the flow of bile through your gallbladder. This can cause severe pain, including abdominal cramping and bloating. Fortunately, with the right preparation and care, gallstone removal surgery can help to bring long-term relief.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about gallstone removal surgery. We will explore the different types of surgeries available, as well as offer tips on pre-operative preparation. We will also provide insight into what you should expect during recovery and how to care for yourself post-surgery.
Why are Gallstones Formed?
Gallstones are formed when cholesterol and other substances in the bile form hardened deposits. These stones can vary in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. They can either be composed of cholesterol, calcium, and bilirubin, or they can be caused by an imbalance between these substances. In either case, when they block the flow of bile through your gallbladder, they can cause severe pain.
Types of Gallstone Removal Surgery
There are two main types of gallstone removal surgery: laparoscopic and open cholecystectomy.
In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen and use a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope-to view and remove the gallbladder. This type of surgery typically takes two to three hours and can be completed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.
In open cholecystectomy, a larger incision is made in the abdomen, and the gallbladder is either cut out or it may be removed with a stapling device. This surgery usually takes three to four hours and typically requires general anesthesia.
Pre-Op Preparation Tips
To ensure a successful surgical outcome, it’s important to prepare for your surgery in advance. Some general pre-op preparation tips include:
- Make a list of all the medications you are taking and bring it with you to your appointment. Your doctor may want to alter or stop certain medications before the procedure.
- Get plenty of rest before surgery, as general anesthesia can be more difficult to adjust when you are not well-rested.
- Avoid food and drinks the night before your surgery, as general anesthesia will make you nauseous.
- Make sure to ask questions about what you should expect post-surgery and any possible complications that may arise.
Recovery and Care Post-Surgery
After your surgery is complete, you should expect to have some discomfort and general soreness. Pain medications may be prescribed to alleviate this pain, but it can take a few days before these start to take effect.
Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you rest and avoid strenuous activities during the first few days after your surgery. You may also need to modify your eating habits during the recovery period, as it can take a few weeks for your digestive system to adjust fully.
Your general surgeon’s electronic medical records (EMR) will be updated with all of the details and instructions related to your gallstone removal procedure so you can have a full record of the pre-and post-operative care process.
Resources and Other Considerations
Gallstone removal surgery can improve your overall quality of life and help to alleviate chronic pain. To ensure a successful outcome, it’s important to prepare for the procedure in advance and follow your doctor’s instructions post-surgery. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, contact your healthcare provider.
In addition, there are a variety of resources available for those considering or undergoing gallstone removal surgery. The American College of Surgeons offers information about the types of procedures, recovery care, and other considerations related to this condition. The Gallbladder Foundation also provides advice and support for patients with gallstones.
Gallstone removal surgery can be an effective way to improve your quality of life and reduce chronic pain. It’s important to prepare for the procedure, follow your doctor’s instructions during recovery, and take advantage of the resources available to ensure a successful outcome.
By carefully following these steps, you’ll be on your way toward a healthier, happier you!