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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Laparoscopic (lapah-ROS-ko-pik) cholecystectomy (ko-le-sis-TEK-to-me) is surgery to treat gallbladder and bile duct diseases. These diseases include cholecystitis (swelling of the gallbladder) and cholelithiasis (stones in the gallbladder or bile ducts). The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located under the liver on the right side of your upper abdomen (stomach). It stores bile that comes from the liver and helps in the digestion of food. Bile is carried by the bile duct to the intestines. If left untreated, gallstones may block the flow of bile and cause more swelling, infection, and abdominal pain.
- In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, small incisions (cuts) are made in your abdomen. Caregivers will insert special tools and a laparoscope through these incisions to do the surgery. A laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end. This gives caregivers a clear view of the abdominal area while watching the images on a monitor. During this surgery, your gallbladder and gallstones will be removed (taken out). With a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, cholecystitis and cholelithiasis may be cured and the symptoms they cause relieved.
- Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Eat healthy foods:
Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.
When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound care.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
- Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You feel so full and cannot burp or vomit (throw up).
- You have pain in your abdomen that does not go away or gets worse.
- You have problems having a bowel movement.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.
- You have sudden, severe shoulder pain.
- Your vomit is greenish in color, looks like coffee grounds, or has blood in it.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- Your symptoms come back.
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