What you should know
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder.
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- You could bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nausea and vomiting are common after this surgery. Any carbon dioxide gas that remains in your body can cause neck and shoulder pain. Your gallbladder may leak bile into your abdomen during or after surgery. This can cause a severe infection or an abscess.
- You may still have gallstones after surgery, and you may need a different procedure to remove them. Your surgeon may need to make a larger incision than expected during surgery. There is a small risk that your bile duct, bowel, or other organs could be damaged during surgery. This can be life-threatening.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood or urine tests. You may also need imaging tests, such as x-rays, an ultrasound, or a CT scan. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- The surgeon will make between 1 and 4 small incisions in your abdomen or navel. Each incision will be about 1 to 2 inches long (2.5 to 5 cm). He will insert the surgical tools and laparoscope into the incisions. The camera attached to the laparoscope will display images of your abdominal organs on a nearby monitor. Your surgeon will fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to make it swell. This lets him see your organs better and gives him room to move the surgical tools around.
- He will look for and remove gallstones in and around your gallbladder. X-rays or an ultrasound may be used during surgery to see your organs better or look for gallstones. Your surgeon will remove your gallbladder through one of the incisions. The carbon dioxide will be released from your abdomen. Your incisions will be stitched or closed with adhesive strips, then covered with bandages.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a recovery room until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Tell your caregiver if you are in pain or feel like you might vomit. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. You may be able to go home later the same day, or you may stay in the hospital overnight.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have a fever.
- You cannot make it to your surgery on time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You cannot stop vomiting.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.