What To Know If You Need Gallbladder SurgeryMost of us don’t think too much about the health of our gallbladders—until something goes wrong. The gallbladder is located in the upper right part of the abdomen, and is responsible for storing the bile produced by the liver to be delivered into the small intestine. The function of this three organ relay race, which is part of the digestion system, is to break down and fats that you eat.

Typically the gallbladder functions without a hitch, but if bile in the gallbladder hardens it may form gallstones, which can be quite painful and dangerous if they block the pathway to the small intestine. Gallstones can also cause inflammation in the tissue of the gallbladder or block the pancreatic duct causing pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. The American Gastroenterological Association estimates more than 25 million Americans have gallbladder disease, and Women’s Health reported that gallstones cause over 800,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S.

What To Know If You Have To Have Your Gallbladder Removed

The good news is that the gallbladder is an organ that you can live without, so if you develop gallstones or other gallbladder problems, your Premier Surgical Associates physician may recommend that you have surgery to remove your gallbladder. Referred to as laparoscopic cholecystectomy, removal of the gallbladder is a minimally invasive procedure typically requiring a couple of small incision near the belly button and lower abdomen.

Most patients recover fully and quickly, but you may be advised to adjust your diet, particularly in the days and weeks following surgery. Bile will now slowly move from the liver to the small intestine, and it can take a few weeks for your to body adjust. Your physician will direct you on what foods to avoid—the right diet can ease your recovery.

After surgery, it’s a good idea to avoid high-fat foods for a few weeks, such as:

  • Fried foods, such as french fries, many fast food items, and potato chips
  • Fatty meats, such as hamburgers, bacon, and sausage, and the skin on poultry
  • High-fat dairy products, such as ice cream, cheese, cream, whole milk, and sour cream, foods made with butter or lard, plus creamy dressings, soups, and sauces
  • Pizza
  • Chocolate
  •  High-fiber foods—such as nuts, seeds, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and beans—may also cause some gas or bloating discomfort after gallbladder surgery.

It’s common to have some food-related symptoms post surgery, but if you experience symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, jaundice, or frequent diarrhea or constipation call your surgeon.

Premier Surgical Associates is the largest surgical group in the Knoxville region, providing comprehensive surgical care, with referrals from across the entire East Tennessee Region. To learn more about Premier Surgical Associates and our services, visit our website at www.premiersurgical.com.