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Open Cholecystectomy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An open cholecystectomy is surgery to remove your gallbladder through an incision in your abdomen.

Gallbladder

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded and have sudden shortness of breath.
  • You have chest pain or cough up blood.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You feel full and cannot burp or vomit.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your incision is red, swollen, or has pus coming from it.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • Your vomit is green, looks like coffee grounds, or has blood in it.
  • Your abdomen is severely painful and swollen.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea and are vomiting.
  • You are constipated or urinate less than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, surgery, or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics help prevent or fight an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

What to eat after surgery:

You may be given specific instructions for what to eat or not eat while you recover. The following are general guidelines:

  • Eat low-fat foods for 4 to 6 weeks. This will help your body get used to digesting fat without a gallbladder. Slowly increase the amount of fat that you eat, as directed.
  • Drink more liquids. Ask how much liquid to drink and which liquids are best for you.

Wound care:

  • Keep the area clean and dry. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions on when you can bathe. Gently wash the area. Do not rub the stitches to dry your skin. Pat the area gently with a towel. Then put on a clean, new bandage as directed.
  • Check for signs of infection. Look for redness, swelling, or pus each day. A fever is also a sign of infection.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You may need to return to have your stitches removed. Your healthcare provider will check your incision for signs of infection. If you have a drain, he or she will remove it. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.