Pain after eating, usually in the upper right or upper middle area of your belly (epigastric pain)
The most common way to remove the gallbladder is by using a medical instrument called a laparoscope (laparoscopic cholecystectomy). Open gallbladder surgery is used when laparoscopic surgery cannot be done safely. In some cases, the surgeon needs to switch to an open surgery if laparoscopic surgery cannot be successfully continued.
Other reasons for removing the gallbladder by open surgery:
Unexpected bleeding during the laparoscopic operation
Follow instructions about when to stop eating and drinking.
Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
Shower the night before or the morning of your surgery.
Arrive at the hospital on time.
After the Procedure
You may stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after open gallbladder removal. During that time:
You may be asked to breathe into a device called an incentive spirometer. This helps keep your lungs working well so that you do not get pneumonia.
The nurse will help you sit up in bed, hang your legs over the side, and then stand up and start to walk.
At first, you will receive fluids into your vein through an intravenous (IV) tube. Soon after, you will be asked to start drinking liquids and eating foods.
You will be able to shower while you are still in the hospital.
You may be asked to wear pressure stockings on your legs to help prevent a blood clot from forming. These stockings also help keep your blood circulating well.
If there were problems during your surgery, or if you have bleeding, a lot of pain, or a fever, you may need to stay in the hospital longer. Your doctor or nurses will tell you how to care for yourself after you leave the hospital.
Most people recover quickly and have good results from this procedure.
Glasgow RE, Mulvihill SJ. Treatment of gallstone disease: In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 66.
Jackson PG, Evans SRT. Biliary system. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 55.
Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.