According to Bharat Bhise, the time it takes to recover from gallstone surgery will primarily depend on the procedure. Generally, patients who undergo laparoscopic or keyhole surgery can return to their normal activities after two weeks or slightly longer if they do manual work. Open surgery patients have to wait at least 3 to 4 weeks for normal activities and 6 to 8 weeks for manual jobs. Still, there are several practices that you need to follow for a quick and healthy recovery after cholecystectomy.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tips you can follow for recovering from gallstone surgery:
1. Change your diet –
Generally, it is recommended that patients avoid consuming fried, greasy, and high-fat foods and fatty sauces and gravies at least until after a week. You have to limit your fat intake to 3 grams of fat per serving. It is also a good idea to stop eating very sweet foods, caffeine, and dairy products for a while since they tend to worsen diarrhea.
Ensure you eat smaller and more frequent meals that consist of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Also, ensure you add small amounts of lean protein such as fish, poultry, and fat-free dairy. And, to normalize bowel movements, slowly increase soluble fiber such as barley and oats in your diet.
2. Take care of your wounds –
If your wound is closed using dissolvable stitches, they will start to disappear on their own after a week or two. However, you need to look after the wound and stitches if it was closed using non-dissolvable stitches.
Generally, you would be advised on when you should get the dressings changed, for how long they need to stay on, and when you can get the area wet again. You have to get the stitches removed by a nurse or doctor after 7 to 10 days.
3. Allow time for healing –
It is crucial that you avoid doing any strenuous physical activity for at least a few weeks to allow the wounds to heal properly and prevent the risk of opening them accidentally. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just sit back at home.
In fact, you should start walking when you feel comfortable since being active can aid in the recovery process. Just don’t go overboard and listen to your body to avoid any issues.
4. Use painkillers if necessary –
During the initial 1 to 3 weeks of your recovery period, it is not uncommon for patients to experience belly pain, nausea, vomiting, sore throat due to the breathing tube, and bruising at the incision site. You might also feel pain in the shoulders and the upper back. That’s why you might have to use painkillers to relieve the pain and reduce discomfort if necessary.
Bharat Bhise suggests you contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice signs of complications that can lead to an emergency if not treated promptly. These include severe pain and swelling in the abdomen, fever over 101°F (38°C), breathing issues, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools, and more. Even if you don’t feel extremely sick, your healthcare provider will be able to guide you on how to take care of the temporary symptoms.