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What to Expect at My Upcoming Gallbladder Surgery

Your gallbladder is a small pouch located below your liver. It stores bile, a fluid that aids in digestion, but sometimes bile can harden into small deposits called gallstones. 

Gallstones may cause intense abdominal pain and other symptoms, from shoulder pain to nausea and vomiting. Since the gallbladder isn’t a necessary organ, surgical removal (cholecystectomy) can be a good option for many people suffering gallstone complications.

Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, specializes in abdominal surgery and gallbladder removal in San Clemente, California. Gallstones don’t go away on their own, and an estimated 80% of people diagnosed with gallstones need surgery.

 If you’re scheduled for gallbladder surgery, our team is here to help you prepare.

Preparing for gallbladder surgery

Dr. Klause and our team review your medical history and conduct a physical exam to determine if gallbladder removal is a good option for you. Before scheduling your gallbladder removal, we perform a series of tests to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo surgery.

During your consultation, talk to Dr. Klause about your gallstone symptoms and any medications you’re taking. You must stop certain medications, like blood thinners, temporarily before surgery.

We give you specific instructions for the night before and morning of your surgery. Instructions may include showering with antibiotic soap and not eating or drinking anything for at least four hours before surgery.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the office on the morning of your surgery. Bring a family member or friend with you, because you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

What happens during gallbladder surgery

When you come in for gallbladder surgery, we begin preparing you for the procedure. We put you under general anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain during surgery.

Dr. Klause performs laparoscopic surgery for gallbladder removal, a surgical technique that requires a few very small incisions rather than one large one. She inserts a small camera through one incision and surgical tools through the others to remove your gallbladder safely.

Most gallbladder removals require three to four incisions. Dr. Klause guides surgical instruments to disconnect your gallbladder and remove it through one of the incisions. Once it’s removed, she closes the incisions.

Gallbladder removal generally takes 45 minutes to an hour. After Dr. Klause closes your incisions, you’re moved to a recovery room and the anesthesia begins wearing off. Most people can go home the same day.

Recovering from gallbladder surgery

Mild to moderate abdominal pain is normal in the days following gallbladder surgery. Dr. Klause can recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or give you a prescription for pain relievers, depending on your health.

In most cases, gallbladder removal patients should start walking shortly after surgery. You can shower in as little as one day after surgery, and any surgical tape or glue should disappear as your incisions heal.

Expect to return to your normal daily routine about one week after gallbladder removal. Attend any follow-up appointments that are scheduled and don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions during recovery.

Gallbladder removal is a safe and effective treatment option for people suffering gallstone pain. To find out if you could benefit from gallbladder surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Klause. Call 949-393-2595, request an appointment online, or send us a message today.

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