What Should You Expect After Gallbladder Surgery?

After laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, a patient can expect some abdominal pain, possible nausea and vomiting, and a return to everyday activities, such as walking, driving and working, within about a week, explains the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. Soreness typically subsides after about a week, notes WebMD.

Some patients are able to return home the same day of their laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, while others stay in the hospital between one and two days before being discharged, explains WebMD. Those who undergo open gallbladder surgery have somewhat longer hospitals stays of about two to four days. Laparoscopic surgery is recommended in most cases, but open surgery is more appropriate in certain circumstances, such as when the patient is obese or has dense scar tissue from prior abdominal surgeries, explains the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. In some cases, surgeons have to switch over to an open surgery if they are unable to visualize organs or if stomach bleeding occurs during the laparoscopic procedure.

Although patients may receive instructions to stick to a low-fat diet for a few weeks following surgery, the majority are able to return to their pre-surgery diets without significant digestive issues, notes Everyday Health. Those who experience lingering digestive problems can manage their symptoms with medications or lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller but more frequent meals and incorporating more fiber and fewer fatty foods in their diets.