Your Best Guide on Preparing for Gallstone Surgery – and What You Can Expect

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The removal of the gallbladder has become an increasingly common procedure for those who have gallstones. If it is only the gallstones that are removed from the gallbladder, there is a big chance that the gallstones will come back, and many surgeons recommend the removal of the entire gallbladder so gallstones have no chance of recurring. Gallbladder removal is referred to as a cholecystectomy, and if you have gallstones and have been recommended for gallbladder removal surgery, it is understandable if you have specific questions about the procedure. If you would like to know what to expect with gallbladder surgery and how you can properly prepare for it, here's your best guide.

What it is and how it is performed
As already mentioned, cholecystectomy is a fairly standard procedure nowadays, and it carries minimal risk, as confirmed by gallbladder surgery London experts. The surgery is usually performed with the insertion of a small video camera as well as specialised tools through small cuts or incisions on the abdomen. The camera aids the surgeon in seeing the gallbladder, and the tools help to remove it. This kind of surgery is called laparoscopic surgery, although in some cases, patients may undergo open surgery where a single large cut or incision is made by the surgeon to remove the gallbladder. 

How you can prepare for it

·         Medication and food

Your surgeon specialising in gallstone surgery in London (such as the experienced surgeons from The London Surgical Group) will tell you not to eat anything prior to your surgery, especially the night before. You may be allowed a small drink of water along with your medication, but you should avoid consuming anything or drinking anything a minimum of four hours prior to your surgery.
The surgeon may tell you to stop taking certain supplements or medications prior to the surgery, especially if they can increase your likelihood of bleeding during the procedure. You can continue taking other medications, however.

·         Personal belongings and clothing

If you are undergoing a laparoscopic procedure for gallbladder removal, you may be able to go home right on the day of the surgery itself. Just in case, however, you should prepare a few personal belongings and items such as bathroom toiletries and a change of clothing; you can also bring items such as magazines or books.

·         Help from someone

Once the procedure is finished and you have received the all-clear, you should have someone drive you to your home. You should also ask someone to stay with you for at least 24 hours after the procedure so they can assist you and be with you in case any complications develop.

What you can expect with gallbladder surgery

When the procedure is done, you will usually be taken to the recovery room or area so your anaesthesia can wear off. Afterwards, you are taken to an individual hospital room so you can continue your recovery. If you undergo a laparoscopic procedure, you can usually go home on the same day, unless the operation is performed in the evening. Once you are able to drink and eat without any pain and are able to walk without aid, your surgeon can give you the green light to go home. Recovery can take up to a week.
If you have undergone an open procedure, you may spend about two to three days in hospital, and once you return home, your recovery period may take four to six weeks.