How long it takes to recover from gallbladder removal surgery ( cholecystectomy) depends on whether you had a laparoscopic (keyhole) or open procedure.
Most people who have keyhole surgery are able toleave hospital on the same day as the operation. It will usually take around two weeks to return to your normal activities.
After open surgery, you'll usuallyhave to stayin hospital for three to five days and your recovery time will be longer. It can take around six to eight weeks to return to your normal activities.
In either case, you'll need to arrange for someone to take you home from hospital. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours if you go home the same day as your operation, as you may still befeeling the effects of the anaesthetic.
You can live perfectly normally without a gallbladder, so there aren't usually any long-term effects from gallbladder removal surgery.
However, it's common to experience some temporary side effects while you recover, including:
These side effects are completely normal and not usually a cause for concern.You only need to contact your GP, the hospital or NHS 111 for advice if they're particularly severe or persistent.
In many cases, dissolvable stitches will be used to close your wounds. These should start to disappear bythemselves within a week or two.
If non-dissolvable stitches were used, you'll usually need to have them removed by a nurse at your GP surgery after 7-10 days. You'll be given an appointment for this before you leave hospital.
You'll be told about how to look after your wound and stitches, including how long any dressings need to stay on, when they should be replaced and when you can start having showers or baths. These will probablybe red and obvious at first, but should fade over time.
Your surgeon can give you specific advice about when you can return to your normal activities.Generally speaking, after keyhole surgery you can:
It can take a bit longer to return to these activities after open gallbladder removal surgery. For example, you may not be able to drive or return to workfor aroundfour toeight weeks.
Contact your GP, the hospital or NHS 111 for advice if you experience:
Theseproblems could be a sign of a complication of gallbladder removal surgery .
Read about gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy), including why it's done, what's involved and what the potential risks are.
Read about what happens before and during a gallbladder removal operation, (cholecystectomy), including the main differences between a keyhole and open procedure.
Read about recovering from having surgery to remove your gallbladder (cholecystectomy), including side effects, how long it takes to get back to normal, and driving after surgery.
Read about the risks of gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy), including infections, internal damage and blood clots.
Read the real story of Phyllis Long, who had surgery to remove her gallstones after doctors discovered 19 of them when removing her appendix.