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Will I feel pain?

Pain control is important for healing and a smooth recovery. There will be discomfort after your laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Your doctor will treat your pain so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes because it may be a sign of a complication.

You might feel a little drowsy if you have narcotic pain medications. You should not drive while you are taking narcotics. General anesthesia can also cause drowsiness for a day or so. You may also have some nausea. Tell a care team member if you are nauseated so it can be treated. 

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments.  Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing
  • Change alertness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, or confusion
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, or palpitations
  • Fever. A low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) is common for a couple of days after a major laparoscopic surgery and not necessarily a sign of a surgical infection. However, you should follow your doctor's specific instructions about when to call for a fever.
  • Inability to urinate, pass gas, or have a bowel movement
  • Leg pain, redness or swelling, especially in the calf, which may indicate a blood clot
  • Nausea and vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication or worsening abdominal pain
  • Sore throat or hoarseness that lasts longer than expected 
  • Unexpected drainage, pus, redness or swelling of your incision
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

How might a laparoscopic cholecystectomy affect my everyday life?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy, sometimes combined with a procedure to remove gallstones from the bile ducts, can completely cure gallstone-related problems. It also prevents the formation of new gallstones. 

Be assured that you can eat a normal diet and live a healthy life without your gallbladder. Occasionally, some people may have softer, more frequent stools after a cholecystectomy. This typically resolves about a month after surgery once your liver adjusts to not having your gallbladder to store the bile it makes.