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Discharge Instructions for Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

You have had a procedure called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is a surgery to remove your gallbladder. People who have this procedure often recover more quickly and have less pain than with open gallbladder surgery (called open cholecystectomy). Many surgeons advise a low-fat diet, staying away from fried food in particular, for the first month after surgery. 

You can live a full and healthy life without your gallbladder. This includes eating the foods and doing the things you enjoyed before your gallbladder problems started.

Home care

Recommendations for home care include the following: 

  • Ask someone to drive you to your appointments for the next 3 days. Don’t drive until you are no longer taking pain medicine and can step on the brake pedal without hesitation. 

  • Wash the skin around your cut (incision) daily with mild soap and water. It's OK to shower the day after your surgery.

  • Eat your regular diet. Try to stay away from rich, greasy, or spicy food for a few days.

  • Remember, it takes at least 1 week for you to get most of your strength and energy back.

  • If you are constipated, talk about a bowel regimen with your provider. Pain medicines can be constipating. Increased fiber and a stool softener are often helpful.

  • Make an office visit to talk with your healthcare provider if these symptoms don’t go away in a week after your surgery:

    • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)

    • Pain around the incision

    • Diarrhea or constipation

    • Loss of appetite

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin (jaundice)

  • Chills

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider 

  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, pus, or a bad smell at the incision site

  • Dark or rust-colored urine

  • Stool that is clay-colored or light in color instead of brown

  • Increasing belly pain

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath

  • Leg swelling

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
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