Gallbladder Surgery Follow-Up and Answers to Questions

I had a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) on March 18, which was a long time coming.  I considered whether removing my gallbladder was necessary, which my doctor said it was, and I chose to do it during my spring break to minimize disruption to my students’ instruction.  I posted about my conditions before, during, and after surgery on my blog and Facebook.  This post is to give you a bit more information about my recovery and to answer some questions I’ve received about having my gallbladder out.

Before Gallbladder Removal

In the final consult before the surgery, the surgeon told me I would be his first or second surgery of the day, and that I should expect to be released to head home before noon.  Several people questioned whether I would be able to walk into the hospital at 7am, undergo general anesthesia, and walk out before noon.  The answer to that question was a resounding, “Yep!”  I was a bit loopy from the meds, but I was able to walk, talk, and make what felt like reasonably-sound decisions.  Accompanied by my “responsible adult,” I walked around the pharmacy and paid for my own prescription immediately following the surgery.  I was even lucid enough to try figure out the best price on the over-the-counter medications.

What can you eat the day of gallbladder removal?

I asked my surgeon that question several times and in a number of different ways.  His answer was always, “I don’t dictate to my patients what they can and cannot eat following gallbladder removal.  Your body will determine what you can and cannot tolerate.”  It turns out, my body was able to handle everything that I threw at it.  Although I ate jello and chicken soup the day of the surgery, I also ended up eating several items that I normally eat, including peanut butter, which was on the list of foods to be wary of.  It’s recommended that folks stay away from foods containing fat because the body has to re-learn how to digest them.  Since my diet is already very low in fat, it was not a problem for me.

How long before you can walk after gallbladder surgery?

I was walking within a couple of hours.  The surgeon recommended I get up and move around periodically to help dissipate the CO2 gas that was left in my abdomen as a result of insufflation.  I was up and walking around at home the day of the surgery with no troubles.  The day after the surgery I spent nearly an hour walking around Kroger doing a little browsing and light shopping.  By the second day after the surgery I was cooking with no difficulties.

How long were you on pain meds after lap chole?

I was written a prescription for Hydrocodone with Acetaminophen (Vicodin), which I was instructed to take 1-2 times per day as necessary.  I’m not a fan of consuming controlled substances, but I’m also not a fan of being in crippling pain.  For the first day, I took one pain pill immediately upon receiving the prescription and another just before going to bed.  The second day, I stopped taking the prescription pain medication and switched to Tylenol, which I took once in the morning, once at lunch, and once before going to bed.  The third day after the surgery I stopped taking all pain medications.

I had 4 incisions — 3 small incisions along my right ribcage and one larger one in my navel.  None of them itched, stung, or burned, but they were tender to the touch.  Inside, my abs were sore from being punctured and sewn back together.  It was evident when I moved, but the pain wasn’t bad enough to cause me to wince or otherwise “make a face.”  The stitches used are self-dissolving sutures, so I don’t have to go back to have them removed.  Steri Strips (strong, sterile packing tape, basically) were used to close the skin, and gauze and water-proof stickers were placed over that.  The water-proof layer was kept on for 2 days, and the Steri Strips came off after 5-7 days.  The incisions are healing nicely.

How much does gallbladder removal cost?

Without insurance, I have no idea how much I would be out.  I’ll be happy to share my out-of-pocket expense information with you.  To see my PCP after my initial gallbladder attack was $25.00.  He sent me for an ultrasound on my gallbladder, which cost about $150 including the charges for having the gallbladder and liver photographed and analyzed.  My PCP called me within an hour of the ultrasound to tell me that the results were inconclusive and that I needed an MRI on my liver and gallbladder.  He didn’t charge for that.

The cost for MRI on my liver and gallbladder was around $250, including the imaging and analysis with insurance, and the results did not come back immediately.  I waited over the weekend to find out the results of the MRI, which cleared me of liver troubles but were still inconclusive on the gallbladder.  This, then, prompted a referral to the specialist, whose initial consult cost $35.00.  Because I took my time deciding whether to have gallbladder removal surgery at all, he required an additional consult at $35.00 before the surgery itself.

The surgeon’s fees for removing my gallbladder were in the $260-$270 territory, but the majority of the cost came from the hospital’s facility fees.  Although I haven’t received the final bill from the hospital, it is anticipated to be in the neighborhood of $750-$850.  Having your gallbladder removed, even with insurance, is not cheap.  Adding in the cost for prescription and over-the-counter aftercare and main medications, the entire affair cost about $1,650.00.  Happy Birthday!

Does having your gallbladder out give you gas, diarrhea, constipation?

Having a laparoscopic surgery of any kind fills your abdomen with gas that naturally works itself out of you over the course of a few days following surgery.  As far as the intestinal tract goes, I had a relatively easy experience.  I was told to initially expect constipation, which is common following anesthesia.  I took an over-the-counter stool softener for the first 3-4 days.  After things got going again, I didn’t have any troubles with diarrhea whatsoever, even though I was eating exactly the same diet I was before having my gallbladder taken out.  Either the amount of fat in my diet is sufficiently low that my digestive tract is able to handle it without concentrated bile, or my liver is just that good.  My stool is slightly softer now than it used to be, but it is nothing uncontrollable, and certainly not diarrhea.

How soon can you drive after gallbladder removal surgery?

My surgeon told me that I could drive as soon as I was off pain medications.  Since I stopped taking prescription pain medications the night of the surgery, I drove the next day.  I will warn you that jarring motions like bumps and sharp turns caused me a bit of discomfort that first day.  I was careful when turning into parking lots.  The pain of transferring a car title at the DMV was worse than the pain of driving, however.

When can you return to work after having a gallbladder taken out?

I would have been able to return to work the next day.  The advice the surgeon gave me was, “You’ll turn the corner around the third day.”  My surgery was early Monday morning.  I could have worked a half day on Tuesday, a full day Wednesday, and I would have been comfortable teaching on Thursday.  I would have given manual labor at least a week.

How long should you wait to exercise after gallbladder surgery?

I took a baby-steps approach to this one.  My surgeon recommended two weeks.  I started walking the day of the surgery.  I walked at least an hour the day after.  I drove, walked, and carried some items the following day.  I built up my strength and endurance on a day-by-day basis.  Friday or Saturday night (I don’t remember which), I actually went out to a bar and socialized until an unreasonably late hour.  Seven days after my surgery I returned to the elliptical machine at the gym for 30 minutes.  On the 8th day, I did 45 minutes.  On the 9th day, I did an hour.  On the 11th or 12th day I did my regular workout with 30 minutes of cardio and a resistance routine.  I even did core exercises, which turned out not to be painful at all.

Were there any complications at all?

I had two attacks that I refer to as phantom gallbladder attacks the weekend after the surgery.  I had the same gas-like pains in the right side of my body.  Both of these attacks came at night when I was in the bed, and both passed quickly.  One lasted no more than 5 minutes, and the other was about 20 minutes.  I read online that if sludge or stones were left, these pains could simply be those things working out of my system.  My follow-up appointment with the surgeon is coming up in about a week, and I plan to discuss this with him.  Since I haven’t had any issues in a week, I’m confident that the matter has resolved itself.

Did you experience weight gain after gallbladder removal?

The morning of the surgery, I weighed myself at home.  The next morning, I weighed myself expecting to weigh just a few ounces less.  I mean, parts had been removed, right?  I weighed 6-7 pounds more.  Googling this, I read that receiving intravenous fluids during a surgery often caused a weight gain of 5-10 pounds.  Coupled with swelling, this explained my weight gain.  This weight did go away within a week, and by the time I returned to the weight loss clinic to weigh, I was down about a pound for the week, and 2.2 pounds for the two-week period of the surgery and the week following it.  Having my gallbladder removed has not caused difficulty in continuing to lose weight.

What other questions do you have about my surgery, my current condition, or anything else?  I’m pretty much an open book, and I’m happy to share what I can to help calm any fears or doubt you might have about a similar situation.  I know I appreciated the kind words and comments I received on Facebook and privately from those of you who had already been through this procedure before.

Thanks for being on this journey with me!

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84 thoughts on “Gallbladder Surgery Follow-Up and Answers to Questions

  1. Lizzie says:

    Price in Canada for emergency gallbladder surgery, including one night in the ER and two in hospital? $0.00. My only out of pocket cost was a bottle of Tylenol.

    Excellent guide for what to expect and recovery times. I think I had a bit more pain than you did though, but everyone experiences pain differently, right?

  2. Liz Beckman says:

    Thank you for this honest and informative account of your experience!

  3. CJ Gomez says:

    NeedlessPounds: Did you pay $1650 WITH insurance or as a cash pay? Where did you have it done?

    I am pricing around for a cash, no-insurance price. The amounts I have gotten so far are +$10,000 for doc/hospital/etc. Any suggestions?

  4. Tim says:

    Just had it done ..cost was 3100.00 without insurance ….

  5. Tim says:

    I ,ll help

  6. Trevor says:

    Great post! I’m scheduled to have my gallbladder removed on the 1st of August and, of course, I’ve found myself reading WAY too many articles on the subject to the point of convincing myself that an alien is going to pop out of me on the surgery table.

    This certainly answered quite a few questions that I was on the fence about and it’s comforting to know that it’s not the horror story that I’ve heard so many people say it is. I have gall stones and that’s the only real reason I’m doing the surgery. The attacks have just gotten progressively worse and I’m ready for that to be over.

    The biggest thing is, like yourself, I work at a school, however it’s a school for JD, ED, and trauma classified children from the ages of 5 to 17 so as far as going back to work is concerned, I’m a little worried. I have to be cleared for “full-duty” or else I can’t even set foot on grounds since we’re required to be able to put hands on at any time given the nature of our students. I was told I was looking at 2 weeks minimum and we won’t start school until the Tuesday after Labor Day so that gives me an extra two weeks if I need them. I just don’t want it to be 6-8 weeks as some people have told me because then I wouldn’t be there for the start of the school year.

    I’m feeling pretty optimistic though after reading your thoughts and I hope that you’re pain free! (Lord knows it’s certainly no fun).

    Great post!

    • Daniel says:

      I am pain free. My gallbladder was removed on March 15th. As long as the laparoscopic procedure works and doesn’t require an open surgery, I’m sure you’ll be more than ready to go! Best wishes!

  7. Did any of your incisions start to look different than the other ones? I have one that’s more red than the others but it doesn’t have heat in it which is what they told me to be aware of

    • Daniel says:

      Mine looked all the same. The heat that you’re talking about would be a sign of infection, which you would want to have seen immediately. How’s your healing?

  8. Linda says:

    Question….have you added any alcohol back into your lifestyle? I’m not a big drinker, but I do really enjoy a beer or glass of wine on the weekend….I’ve heard some horror stories, but I may have to give it a go one of these days.
    Any tips would be appreciated 🙂

    • Daniel says:

      Since November 2011, I’ve had 3 drinks. Alcohol, being empty calories, is on my seldom-if-ever list. That being said, one of my drinks was recently, and it presented me no issues.

      • Linda says:

        Thanks for the reply…your post gave me some hope when you said peanut butter was fine…wansn’t sure I could exist with out it! 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Hi Linda, I had my gallbladder removal surgery now, 6 days ago, I came out of hospital on the 5th day ( yesterday ) and made a salad, ate some fried fish and had a beer and one can of Kirin Bitters ( includes alcohol 8%) felt a little sleepy at 9.00pm so went and snoozed it off until I awoke at 6am. No worries.

    • Frank n/a says:

      Curious what horror stories you heard?

  9. kat says:

    Did you ever have pain on your left side or elevated liver enzymes prior to removal of your gallbladder? My hyda scan showed it was functioning at 70% but the doctor wanted to take it out anyway because they could recreate the right side pain. With the pain in my spleen area now i am afraid it may be something different or the gallbladder caused that. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    • Daniel says:

      I did not have pain on my left side. I’m not sure about my liver function other than to say, “my endocrinologist never seemed concerned.” As part of the weight loss program, we were required to have labs done periodically. They checked my liver function each month for a while, noticing that it was a little on the high side, but not so much that they changed my diet.

    • Bella says:

      Hi Kat… I actually get the left side pain too, the GB was taken out on Monday this week.. I till feel a left tinge but will be patient and see.. The symptoms we’re off, but my GB was low function and we ran out of reasons for the pain. There is a risk it won’t work.. But I’ll let you know I guess 🙂 no stones either..

  10. Miranda Mmb says:

    What about cheese?

    • Daniel says:

      Cheese isn’t something I eat much of. I did have cheese on salads this summer, but only a bit of grated stuff (or sometimes a nice feta cheese if it was available). In the small quantities I’ve eaten cheese, I’ve never noticed any issues.

  11. Trevor says:

    Hey Daniel!

    I had commented on your post back in July prior to having my lap chole on August 1st. I’m here to say that 18 days later I’m doing great! Eating habits were pretty simple for the first week or so but I’ve been slowly adding different “crazy foods” to my diet (pizza, hot dogs, beer, cheese) and nothing has disagreed with me yet! The only beverage that seems to send me to the bathroom a little quicker than it used to is coffee but I’ve been switching back to tea again and that’s no problem at all.

    My scars have all healed up very nicely and I haven’t had any real discomfort in my abdomen in over a week since getting my stitches out.

    Just wanted to say thank you again for the post. It was truly what I was looking for going into my surgery and really made me feel a lot more at ease about getting it done.


  12. mike says:

    how long after you have an mri do you have to wait to have gallbladder surgery.I have multiple gallstones, what are my chances of having surgery.How big of an incision do i have to have to take it out.

    • Daniel says:

      Those are all questions that must be answered by your doctor. My doctor told me the results within a week. I waited until surgery was convenient for me, so I’m unsure what the turn-around time for your surgeon might be.

      If you’re having a laparoscopic procedure, expect 3-4 incisions 5-10 mm each. Very tiny incisions.

  13. Raymie says:

    I had mine out 2 days ago. I did Zumba today for 15 minutes and walked on the treadclimber for 25 minutes. Coffee is a big NO, found that out this morning. Peanut butter gives me gas but nothing like the coffee. The biggest advice I can give is walk every hour after your surgery for 1 to 2 minutes. When you wake up in the night to take a med WALK! Walking seriously helps! I even got on the indo board today, soar but doable. I only took pain m3ds the day of surgery and that next morning. Life is good!

    • Jeanette says:

      Raymie,,I wish I had your energy when I am healthy,,,but I know for a fact it will be a while before I do. Good for you!

  14. James Ferguson says:

    In 2012 I had keyhole surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) to remove my gallbladder and a 5 night hospital stay. The care and treatment were first class in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee Scotland. We do not have medical insurance in Scotland and I didn’t have to pay a penny as it was all free, even my meals and I was reimbursed for my travel costs to and from the hospital. Everyone in Scotland gets free medical treatment, it’s just part of our way of life here. If we can do it why can’t it be like that in a rich country like America?

    • Margot says:

      Hi James read your article today.
      I am
      Proud to say that I lived in Dundee for a number of years and found the whole health care system fab.
      Last Friday I had to have my gallbladder removed here in California.
      I got home eight hours later and feeling good .Was informed by the surgeon it was really bad and that it had spilled over.
      Exercising eating back to normal.
      My bill was 22.645 dollars
      Praying now that my holiday ins will cover me

    • Renee says:

      I wish!!! I just had mine out here in America after 14 days in the hospital due to complications. I even have insurance, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be owing about $5000 to $8000 as my insurance pays 80% (and that’s considered a great plan!).

  15. Stephen Brockwell says:

    Last April went to ER in St. Louis with major GB attack. Lap surgery scheduled next day and went home the following. Without insurance the grand total was $29700. The major part of that was to the hospital. After filling out all required paperwork the hospital and all doctors, etc reduced the bill to around $9000. A little late but thank god I have insurance now!

  16. Jeanette says:

    Just had my lapro gallbladder removal on Tuesday. Was supposed to be outpatient, but my gallstone was so large they had to open the incision at my belly button more than usual to remove the stone and the bladder. I have a very low pain tolerance and was taken by surprise so they kept me over night to receive monitored pain meds. The extra strength vicaden helped the surgery pain, but gave me awful headaches. The percaset did nothing at all for me. Morphine was the only thing that relieved my pain, but it wore off quickly. I was so thankful my dr let me spend the night even though it was unexpected. I’d really like to have a beer,,,but I may just put that off for a couple of more days 🙂

  17. mary says:

    I am due to go into hospital for my Gall bladder removal on Thursday, I am so glad I came across this article as I have been reading some stories on the internet which did put me off a little ,and was really seriously thinking of cancelling it, but I do feel somewhat relieved a little after reading this ,I have only ever had 1 bad attack which left me in hospital for 3 days and wouldn’t like to experience another attack like that again so, wish me luck

  18. vix says:

    Glad your surgery went well. Usually people do recover quickly but often it takes a couple of months to get back to normal. I struggled with extreme tiredness and insomnia for weeks afterwards, and had horrific constipation. The constipation made me feel unwell then when things started moving again I had severe diarrhoea for a couple of days with really bad abdominal cramping.
    8weeks later, and I feel pretty much back to normal now. I’m eating everything I couldn’t previously eat, so I have put on a lot of weight. But I intend to start eating low-fat again from today.
    I didn’t ever regret having the surgery, even with these issues. I was also lucky that my employer was understanding and was ok with giving me 4w off, then another 2, then another 2. I’m returning to work today!
    Anyway, my point is that not everyone finds the surgery a walk in the park, and others considering the operation should know the possibilities beforehand.

  19. Bec says:

    Very late post but I had my gallbladder out 17th feb 2014. I got gallstones during my second pregnancy.
    All was fine with the op and all it cost me was the specialist costs (about $150 all up maybe) and I’m in Australia. But my main difference was the amount if pain I was in. I didn’t get up and walk until about…4pm…6 hours after surgery because 1. I had post anaesthetic nausea and vomiting so was in recovery for 3 hrs and 2. the nurses told me not to get up till they were there and they were just too busy. I was in a hell of alot of pain for about 5 days. I’ve had 2 csecs and had one morphine based tablet after each. After gallbladder removal I had 2 and was on codeine for 4 days after. It was more painful than my caesarians!! Having said that 6 days later I have minimal pain. I just keep reading everywhere that noone had much pain. I just wanted people to know that sometimes there can be alot of pain. But I’d still do it again 🙂

  20. Bec says:

    Also I was kept in hosp overnight. Had op at about 9.15 Monday morning and was home by 9.15 tues morning

  21. Janet says:

    Hi…had my gall bladder removed February 14. Nice valentines gift, right? I go today for my follow up with surgeon. Surgery went well, except I had dehydrated. That was most likely from not being able to eat or drink much in the weeks preceding. My pain level was low so I only took Tylenol for a few days, as needed. I think the gas in my shoulders was the most bothersome…took a week to get out of there. Still watching what I eat, some things will make me run for the bathroom. Hopefully in time, it will adjust. I do not have all the bills in yet…..but so far it’s over $25,000.00. Yikes!! I’m thankful to have insurance.

  22. Bryan says:

    I had my Gallbladder out on February 24, 2014. It is now almost 3 complete weeks and i am biting at the chomp to workout! I was running again right after the week 1 point (with staples intact) and have run a couple of times since. I have lifted a few feed bags, too. I keep reading that you must wait 4 weeks at least to do core or resistance training, so I was glad to see you did them on the 11th or 12th day. I am on a Ketogenic diet and have stayed in ketosis from before the surgery all the way through; it is high fat (good fat as in Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, avocados, etc.), moderate protein and low carb (20g day or less), and I have had no GI tract problems. Maybe since my GB was so bad, my liver had already adjusted to NOT using it!? Also I do not drink hardly at all, but I had 1 drink (whiskey) at around 2.5 weeks and it had no effect on digestion or ketosis whatsoever.

    Thanks for your post!

  23. Jim Ferguson says:

    I’m glad your op went well. Your liver will adjust in time and you will feel back to normal in a few months. Initially I went to the toilet more frequently but this has pretty much gone back to the pre op frequency now. Everyone has different circumstances; my condition was never diagnosed properly until I collapsed at work and was rushed into an emergency ward even though I had complained of pains in my gut for months previously and I had an emergency home visit by medics and a doctor weeks previously but they didn’t spot it. My experience was painful and I was on heavy dosages of morphine and other painkillers while I was in hospital but thankfully I had the op within two days. I am grateful to our health system in Scotland as no one here has to pay for any treatment even our prescription drugs are free but am concerned at the American system which must be tragic for a lot of people who happen to require an operation who cannot afford insurance. Surely our system could be adopted in the US so that everyone is treated FOC it is a basic human right to have access to the best possible treatment for rich and poor alike. Good luck to all who are recovering or entering surgery may God bless you all.

  24. ivee despa says:

    I have my navel right now tender to touch and pain to touch actually right upper of my navel.and its red around the navel.should i worry about that? What you think happened?

    • Elaine Barr says:

      Hi I had mine out on 17 th april the co2 gas was so excuating for 5 days and even now 12 days after I still feel as though ive been kicked hundred times .my naval is causing me the most problems still in pain getting up cant sleep on my side yet I cant even sweep the floor .so much for going back to work on thursay.they must have really damaged my insides as very slow healing.lucky you lot who didnt have the pain and not so lucky who suffer for weeks.hope it doesnt take to much longer as tv getting boring .

  25. valerie says:

    Really enjoyed reading your post. Very thorough and touched on all my questions. Primarily diet and exercise. I’m very active in the gym and was concerned that there would be a big delay in being able to return. I’ve just had emergency surgery yesterday morning and will go to the gym and sit on the recumbent bike, not for speed or necessarily for the purpose of exercise but more so to keep my body with routine. I’ll listen to my body and just pedal slowly and thoughtfully. The other part of your blog, being eating: It’s been soup and jello for me as well and was advised to keep this road until I pass gas but I’m HUNGRY, so once again, I will listen to my body. Maybe some toast and light coating of peanut butter with low fat milk.. My doctor told me pretty much the same thing yours did.. My body will tell me what and what not to eat. Thanks again for your post, it was nice to hear a voice of experience and reason.

  26. Hannah says:

    7/1/14 Day of surgery went in at 5:30am and left at Noon. I felt sick and tired most of that day and tried to sleep it off. Threw up several time and it hurts. Had a hard time going pee all day because it did not feel like I had to go. (I had to force myself) Pain pill every 4 hours on the first and second day.
    Day TWO: 189lb (normal weight 187lb) Really sore, hard to get in bed and out of bed because the strain in the stomach. Had four incisions. Threw up in morning. Ate jello, pudding, yogurt, and chicken broth first and second day.
    was able to feel bladder again and starting to pee regular. Cotton mouth, dry throat. took several naps. stomach Pain level 7. shoulder pain level 4. And back pain from walking like I was 80 years old.
    Day THREE: 189.9lb, A little easier to get out of bed. Still felt nauseous. Started to take stool softener because I realized I had not gone in 3 days. Pain pills will constipate you. Ate chips and salsa for lunch and hot dogs for dinner. Pain level 6
    Day FOUR: 189.2lb, Stopped taking pain pills because I was feeling much better and did not need them. stomach feels heavy and bloated, Mainly because I have not been passing gas because I have been constipated from pain pills. (you need to pass gas because they pump your stomach with air during surgery.) Eating normal again and pain levels going down. Pain level 5
    Day FIVE: 188.9lb, Stomach is mainly tender, belly button area feels like a pinching. All other cuts are itchy from healing. Back still hurts from slouching over while walking. I’m about 35% better. No Pain pills all day.
    Day SIX: 186.5lb, Feeling so much better today. Stomach not feeling heavy or bloated. No pain pills all day and walking around with no problems. 60% better.
    Day SEVEN: 184.2lb, In and out of bed no problem, no pain. Just itchy from the healing process. 75% better.
    Day EIGHT: 183.2lb, Follow up with doctor today. Got the Pathology Report on my gallbladder and it says the gallbladder measuring 8.0cm in length by 2.4cm in diameter. The largest stone I had out of ten stones total was 2.5cm. Gallbladder wall was 0.2 to 0.4 cm in thickness.
    90% better today. Would be 100% if the incisions were healed completely.
    Had attacks for about 3 years. Within the last 6 months I would have attacks every other day lasting from 4 to 24 hours. Pain levels on the attacks 8-9 out of 10.
    I am so glad I got this done. The reason it took me so long to get it done was because I had no insurance at that time. I was even having an attack on surgery day, so I was not nervous or scared at all, but very excited to be getting this done.

  27. Tammy says:

    I just had my gall bladder removed n 8/24/14 after being rushed by EMS to the hospital. I had been dealing with this issue for YEARS and all the doctor would do was give me strong antobotics and send my fanny home…. so that is the main reasn I ddint go to the hospital until I culdnt take the pain no more. It was like they never would listen to me or my husband. This time my white blood cell could was WAY up and so was my Liver function. THe one dr in the ER said that I was going to be sent home and to follow up with my doctor, I started to cry explaining that he wont do anything except give me medication an send me home and that is all that he has done for my gall bladder in the past. Then he called in a surgeon to look over my case I had to explain it all to him again. He said that he neede to go look up something and would be back. All the medical records can be seen online so he searched my medical records came in and told me that I have been seen at my dts office 32 times for the SAME issues in 22 mnts TOLD YA lol then told me that he was going to admit me to the hospital (Friday) but he wount be able to do the surgery until Sunday cause he wanted to treat me with antibotics (IV) first well that worked for about time a doctor that cares that I had never seen a day in my live. was a God send to me.. Now home after surgery im super sore only the incision at the top the other I don’t even knw that they are there.. I am moving around great , but it hurts like hell to lay down in bed and 10x wose getting up… ther than that I am great 🙂

    • HB says:

      It gets better Tammy, I promise. It has been almost two months now since my surgery and I have not had an episode since. I have more energy and I feel so good. I was having bathroom problem (going all the time) but I have had constipation problems my whole life that this was great for me and enjoyed it very much. (sounds bad I know but its the truth)
      get plenty of rest and you will be just fine.

  28. Jim Ferguson says:

    It’s a pity that you guys in the USA have to pay so much for your ops we on Scotland get it all done for free surgery drugs hospital accommodation meals even
    our transport fares including flights and ambulances are all totally free. If we can have that system why can’t you? It’s because your system is privatised and in the hands of greedy banks and businessmen. You all have to fight for free care. Start campaigning today.

    • Jay Webb says:

      Because if we had this system our taxes would be outrageous and we would have to wait to see a doctor for weeks even for a stomach cold. It sounds great but when you break it down it is a disaster.

  29. Georgia says:

    great article, really helped answer some of the nagging questions! get my surgery in a week and hoping all goes well like yours did!
    Thanks x

  30. Lori Ames says:

    I really needed to read this!!!!! I am scheduled for the surgery in two days. This was SOOOOO HELPFUL at easing my mind! THANK YOU!

  31. I had heard many horror stories so was very anxious when I was told the reason for my ongoing discomfort and pain is due to my gb function only at 11 percent and needed to meet with a surgeon. Your post was optimistic and calmed me. I had my surgery 2 weeks ago and have not had any food issues other than an occasional twinge. I had surgery at 830 am and,was home by 1pm. Have been walking ever since. Had to go to an out of town conference 10 days later. Flying and trip was fine. I was definitely tired at the end of each day but am so glad I had this done.
    As far as food. I began with jello and chicken noodle soup. Have kept things low fat until the past 4 days and I’ve added foods and fat. Have not yet had any alcohol.
    Good luck to all. I had a lot of anxiety but it has turned out great so far.
    Thanks again for your original post.

    • Jo says:

      I am due to have my gallbladder taken out next Thursday afternoon. I am hoping to make a funeral service on Friday lunchtime. (It’s a 45 min drive away, then a crem service). What do you think my chances are? (That’s if I’m allowed out of hospital in time)

      • I was pretty tired the next day. I walked several times around the inside of my house and found it helpful to hold a pillow against my stomach while walking. Probably more for my own security but it did help me. Car ride probably ok but ofcourse careful of the seat belt maybe a small towel as an extra layer.. I did find sitting for too long was a challenge. I was much more comfortable the first day lying flat to get rid of the anesthesia gas or in bed propped with pillows. Good luck. Let me know how everything goes.

        • Lucy says:

          Hello, I’ve read you comment and was wondering how are you doing now? Any pain? Any changes in digestion? I am scared,I have a surgery July,10th. Developed gallstones during pregnancy.

          • Daniel says:


            I’ve had absolutely no problems in the more than two years since my gallbladder removal. The initial pain following the surgery caused by the gas are it. No changes in digestion at all. You’ll be fine.

          • I have not had any problems. I get what I call a slight phantom cramp where my gallbladder was when I eat pork. I ate very little fat following and eased back into a regular diet over a few weeks.
            My sister who also had hers out years ago said her Dr told her no popcorn no turkey for a few months. I’ve had turkey with no problem. Haven’t had any popcorn.
            Other than being tired at the endo of the day for a few weeks i be been surprised at how well I feel.
            I was terrified of digestion issues but have not had any. Wasted alot of energy on worrying.
            Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

  32. Ann Marie Craig says:

    Had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery too. I am a little sore. But my biggest complaint is the gas they fill you with. My stomach looks like I am 5 months pregnant! And hard belly, that it is causing me to feel full and very uncomfortable. Tomorrow it will be 6 days since my surgery. Why won’t my stomach go back to normal. Very unhappy.

  33. porraine says:

    I’m having my gallbladder removed in two days time and after reading your story I feel a lot less worried. You answered every question I had so thanks for that and so glad you had such a good experience, well done on your continuing weight loss.

  34. Julie Ceruti says:

    Had my gallbladder removed and it was a very bad experience ,Dr.didnt know how I lasted this long said I was loaded with gangrene. Was in bad shape for awhile. Thought I drank which I don’t but was addicted to Advil Pm . Any thoughts on this?

  35. Liz says:

    Must be doing something wrong I got mine removed 3 days ago I walk I drink clear fluids everything still very hurts but I had some surgery done on my liver aswell.. I guess everyone does hurt/heal different..

  36. Wes says:

    11th day post gallbladder removal. I had ER lap chole due to acute cholecystitis, was enroute to vacation when it happened night time and continuously till early morning when me and my wife decided to dropby at a 24- hour ER clinic. My ordeal was bad and it happened for almost if not more than 6 hours from the time of attack till admitted in a hospital where pain meds was given. In the ER CLINIC, they advices me to go immediately to a hospital which we did reaching the same after 20 minutes. In the hospital, I was adviced to have the lap chole since it’s risky driving back reaching my destination. Of the 12 hour-drive to destination, there’s 2 hours more before reaching it. I was scheduled afternoon but was called on evening already( my case being ER and unscheduled). I pretty remember the anesthesiogist saying will make you sleep then wake you up if it’s done:)))). Indeed, I woke up and ended up asking the nurse if surgery was done. I woke up in the recovery room, minutes after I was brought to my room and slept. After 6 hours, I woke and tried to sit in bed. Feel nauseated and requested for an anti emetic. When I felt better, started to take few steps then went back to bed. Early morning was disaster for me, I felt now pain after maybe the anesthesia faded off. Request for delaudid don’t work until I had the second shot. For that whole early morning till before lunch, I had suffered severe pains, cramping pains on where my gallbladder was removed, apart from gas pains and the shoulder, neck and back pains brought by the CO2 used to inflate my tummy. Being used to not getting pain meds even had muscle or headache, this time was sn exception, pain defeated me and have to religiously ask my nurse for the pain meds. I had oral and IV meds that controlled somewhat the pains. This enabled me to had frequent walk eith the goal to help bring back my stomach normal work and be able to poop. DIET wise, I started with ice, then wAter, then jello, then regular diet on small frequent meal. Most of the time I had crackers and jello. Late afternoon when I was allowed to go home though sad wasn’t able to speak with the surgeon. Was too excited to go home to take rest and recover not in the hospital. We drove 2 hours to our original destination. Movement limited with slow crouching posture, bad for the hips with no choice. Went home with Percocet but was not able to buy since pharmacy are closed already. I settled with Tylenol q4 which did its work except the pains brought by the co2. Most of the time I endured semi fowlers position. Same routine for 5 days walking slowly as well as progressing my diet to normal, had most Veges and fish. Oh, I was able to poop after 3 days. Bouts of solid to occasional semi solid. 4th day I pooped 3 times. Soreness still there but what I did was to slowly progress my activity through walking. After 6 days, went back to where we came from, my wife has to drive but at night time, 3.5 hours from destination I needed to drive. Put one binder and steeped up on the gas mostly at 70-80 speed. Seems fine but still at stop points walk slowly going to pee. Was able to pooped once along the way.(by the way after the 3rd day I am pooping daily as usual). Arriving at home, I am still going easy with my recovery, working on straightening my posture, was to afraid that I might disrupt healing of my wounds. Worst on the 8th day I sneezed and felt stomach cramps and it seems it hurt my wound. ( refrain from sneezing if you can). 8day been walking around apt. 9-10 day walked in the park for more than a mile. Then 11 day was a 2.5 mile walk. Still on the road to recovery and doing it easy not forcing myself. If I felt pain, I stopped and relax a bit. Still working to walk the normal way. This is my story and hope it will help alleviate future candidates’ fear and an insight on what to expect after. It will serve as a guide for you to plan your recovery and be able to determine what will work on you. I do believe that each of us are unique but mine may help. Let’s get back on the track!!!!!!/)))

    Ps as to charge? Still waiting:))))

  37. I had my GB removed less than 24 hours ago and I ended up with quite a bit of pain but I had adhesions all over my insides. But how much bleeding is normal after surgery? Also have you had any problems with veggies?

  38. Dixxsy says:

    I know this is an old post, but I found it.
    Everyone has a different experience.
    I had Pancreatitis at the beginning of the year caused by a stone passing through my gallbladder and blocking my bile duct to my pancreas.
    I was told Pancreatitis has no cure and that I had to get my gallbladder removed or I would die in 10 or 20 years, I’m 34.
    I was in hospital for 3 weeks with Complicated Acute Pancreatitis. I was given super strong antibiotics 3 times a day for 5 days though an I.V.
    I had pockets of fluid in my abdomen, my inflammation levels were outrageously high and so was my white cell count.
    They could not do surgery while I was like this.
    Once my blood tests got better they released me to come back later to have my gallbladder removed.
    I still had an egg sized pocket of fluid at this time.
    I finally got my gallbladder removed a few months later.
    Coming out of surgery I was in unbelievable pain. I had to have a drain put in because of fluid build up. I was told this is not normal for gallbladder removal.
    I’d had the key hole surgery, the only problem was the drain.
    I was given 20mg of endone every 2 hours over 36 hours.
    The first time I tried to get out of bed I had a nurse assist me. I could not bend to sit on the toilet because it was so painful. She gave me a small hard pillow to hold on my side so I could. I still struggled
    I was kept in hospital for 2 nights because my oxygen levels were too low. I wasn’t breathing properly because of the pain.
    They wouldn’t let me go until I could breathe without oxygen.
    The drain was taken out around 11am the morning after surgery which caused the pain to ease off a fair amount, but it was still there.
    Once I could get enough oxygen breathing on my own I was released.
    The pain wasn’t too bad, but it was enough for me to still take a couple of endone the next day.
    Then I went to one at night with a couple of panadol. Now for a couple days I’ve taken nothing, it’s been a week since my surgery.
    There is still mild pain, especially when getting up.
    I’m not allowed to drive for 2 weeks, no heavy lifting for 4 weeks and then I have to take it easy for a few weeks after that.
    I have 6 weeks off work.
    Here in Australia it is all free on the public system.

    • Julie says:

      In Australia to have gb removal surgery is free? Hospital stay is free? x-rays and medications given after recovery all free? Is this all over Australia law?

  39. […] Gallbladder Surgery Follow-Up and Answers to Questions … – Gallbladder Surgery Follow-Up and Answers to Questions … How much does gallbladder removal cost? Without insurance, I have no idea how much I would be out. […]

  40. Ms: GB says:

    Hello All-
    FYI-I am 5 ft tall, 105lbs, Female. (Very Healthy before these thing happened to me) Un- expected Operation….. 🙁
    I had my GB removed on 9/28/2015. I stayed at the Hospital from 9/28-10/1/2015. Went home on 10/2/2015. I went back to work right away. (10/7/2015)…. My co-workers in the office they think I am crazy because I should stay home at least 3-6 weeks. :)… And I told them I am not in pain…..I have office job (Accountant) so it should not be hard for me to just sit for 8 hours and do my work… 🙂 As long as no lifting…..
    My diet was fine…… I stayed eating bland food… means- chicken noodle soup, Jell-O, rice, vegetables (Boiled)… ( No grease for at least 4 weeks.) So far it went well… NO problem in my stomach… BW is normal….. Advice—- just eat healthy and you should not have a problem recovering from GB removal…..

    Work out: I just been walking every day for at least 30-45 minutes a day…. for almost six weeks….
    After 6 weeks I can get back to my normal exercise routine…. I run 7.0 on the treadmill…. and no problem…. Just make sure you need to feel your body…..

    Total cost for my surgery around $40K ( Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance) 🙂 I live in U.S.A (Fairfax VA)……

    I had 4 holes in my stomach: Everything healed perfectly (It is not even noticeable)…. NO infections or any troubles recovering…. Advice- don’t get wet the areas until completely healed while you are in the shower….
    Final Results: I am 100% feel better… 🙂 It is just feels weird that I am missing parts of my organs….. 🙂

    Notes: Stay healthy by means- Eat healthy food…. And you will not have any complications after surgery……

    Thank you All
    Ms. GB

    • Ron Miller says:

      Most people do very well after a lap chole procedure. It is not a difficult procedure and the technology today allows people to get good results, many of which have been talked about in the comments.

      The absolute key to the procedure is getting someone who is experienced doing the procedure safely. There is a lot of profit in doing a lot of these surgeries and many doctors are performing these procedures that should not be. We have seen doctors who have multiple claims against them for botching this operation. The key is asking the hard questions. How many of these have you done? is the biggest. The correlation between experience and success is pretty stunning (you can see some of the data here:

      When the doctor does not know what he is doing, a big complication is cutting the common bile duct which is usually accompanied by the doctor not realizing he/she has cut the duct.

  41. Lucia says:

    Lucky you I just got mine taken out 3 weeks ago I’m still suffering from attacks which I think are the leftovers lol

    I on the other hand do not have insurance and I got a bill 3 days ago for $27,000 and that’s for the surgery and hospital stay (I was there 3 days) I also got a doctors bill and that was almost $9,000 and I’m sure I will get anesthesia bill too. So we are looking at almost $45,000 for everything.

  42. Tiffany says:

    I just recently had GB surgery on 1/12/2016. I went in at 6:30 AM, surgery at 8 AM and was home in my bed by 11:30 AM. I had one potty issue 3 days after surgery but other than that I have maintained a healthy diet and haven’t had any issues. I am still sore and fatigued but I feel within the next 2 weeks that will go away. I am now back at work on 1/19/2016 and seem to be doing well and hopefully I can start back at the gym within the next few days doing cardio. Doctor did advise no heavy lifting for the next few weeks till my abdominal wall is strong again and do not give myself a hernia. With my insurance the total I will have to pay is around $2,100.00. Good luck to all!

  43. Quarropas says:

    Thank you for your generous and detailed account of your experience. You answered most of the questions I’ve had about my upcoming gallbladder removal. Haven’t found any other place on the web as helpful. Happy it all went well for you.

  44. Jackie Bachman says:

    I just had my gallbladder removed 9 days ago and so far all has been better than expected. Only had minimal gas pains and certainly nothing in the shoulder area which is what was mentioned to me by several over people. Got back on my tractor zero turn today and cut grass for 2 hours. My only complaints were; I had one is that I received a terrible red rash about 5 inches below my belly button covering that whole area and about 8 inches wide. Little by little with cortizone cream, A&D ointment and anitbiotic it is lessening every day – I can only assume I was allergice to whatever they put on there prior to surgery. Also was very nauseated from the anthesia until about 2:00 the morning. Also was constipated for about three days and went off the major meds after 2 days. I went in at 9:30 a.m. and home by 2:00 p.m. Other than that all is healing well and I go tomorrow for my post-op physical. Good luck with anyone that is going through this and like a comment above I am able to eat pretty much whatever I like. Again like the comment above walk as much as you can this was a big help to me too! Good luck with anyone else that needs this type surgery.

  45. RON says:


  46. Melissa says:

    Thank you for sharing! This has helped ease my anxiety about my upcoming surgery and recovery. I hate not being able to exercise and would like to get back to it as soon as possible!

  47. Sherry Floz says:

    Trevor thanks for your informative post on your surgery. I had my gall bladder removed on 17Mar2016. I had been having problems with indigestion, acid reflux, and I thought I was also lactose intolerant, and had severe pain for many years. I went into see a general practitioner thinking I had a bladder infection around Thanksgiving because my urine was so dark and not clearing up through out the day. I had been putting off going in to see another doctor just because I could not afford the it. Finally the pain had gotten so unbearable that it just wasn’t going away ….so I went into the emergency room 2 times in the early morning of 16Mar. First time they gave me acid reflux pills and sent me home. The 2nd time I went in they did the ultra sound and seen that I had a lot of stones. When it was time to go in for surgery…I wasn’t nervous or anything…I was just about begging for this surgery. It gave me such piece of mind knowing what the problem was and not just because I thought it was from getting old and having to live with all these awful problems….I’m 58 yrs old. For a few days before my surgery I couldn’t even eat or drink…not even water…as I was getting nauseated from everything. After I had my surgery I felt like I was starving but they would only let me eat jello and have water. I went home a couple hours after my 2 hour surgery. I felt so terrific after my surgery the hubby and me did the nasty when we got home. I ate like crazy and because of the medication (morphine) I was able to do quite a bit. I did not drive at all but I did go out on errands with my husband the day of my surgery and the next day. The 3rd day post op I was winding down and needed to rest for a few days. I did have a bit of discomfort from the gas which took about 5 days to go away. I didn’t have any pain what so ever from the incisions….although one of them did end up splitting open…(on the surface of my skin) about a month after surgery. I could not afford to have my follow up after my surgery but did call and find out that my gall bladder was ready to burst and had been bleeding for quite a while…so thank goodness I got in for surgery in time. One thing I did was get pics of my gall bladder when they were doing my surgery…they were quite interesting pics….I dont know what the total of my surgery costed but I do have Medicare and I did ask the hospital for help. My total I owe is just a little over $2,000.00. This is something we surely cannot afford and will be paying on it for many years. It is now a little over 3 months since my surgery and I feel better then I have felt in 10 years….Physically and emotionally it is so incredible. I lost a bunch of weight before my surgery and 3 months later I have not gained any of it back…I can tell you that I forgot what it felt like to feel “normal”. This was the best thing I have had done. I do however have a couple of more problems and was wondering if anybody else has them. Since my surgery I do have a lot of gas….the minute I eat I get gas. It doesn’t matter what it is that I eat….I get it. I’ve never been very gassy but I sure am now. Also, after I drink anything….when I have to go urinate…I have to go NOW. I have never had problems before my surgery but I have them now. I dont know if this is another problem that may need to be addressed in the future or if this is from my gall bladder surgery….any suggestions? I cannot afford to go into another doctor again.

  48. Detta says:

    Thank you for this well written and informative piece! I’ve had mine removed today and you’ve shared your experience so well. I’ve gained much more guidance than I have from the hospital – Thank you x

  49. Star says:

    Really? This guy sounds like Superman. I too just had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery done 7 days ago. Mine was emergency surgery. The first day I was sore but never took a pain pill or Tylenol. My belly button still has a small blood clot on it and looks totally disfigured. I would post a photo but do not want to make people sick. It looks like A plumber took a Roter rooter instrument to it. May be everyone’s belly button looks like that after this type of surgery. A few years ago I had laprascopic surgery to remove my ovaries and tubes and I don’t recall my belly button looking this bad. 😔 other than that I never would have been able to go back to work the first or second week. The first few days I would get so fatigued around 3 pm and had diarrhea every day. Other than the above which is now the 7th day I am finally feeling like myself. I am no wimp, but from the looks of this man he is younger than me. Oh and by the way definitely do not lift bend or twist unless you want a hernia.

  50. Ilona Ng says:

    I had mine out on the 6th of this month and I did not return to “normal” functions and work until December 27. I could have waited until the first of the year but I was out of sick and vacation time. I am still experiencing discomfort – like muscle pain and pain at the site of extraction (my bellybutton), and fatigue. I’m assuming this will fade away a little each week as I heal

    I am, however, struggling with nausea now that I’ve returned to daily routine. I’m hoping this is normal, but I’ve put a call in to my doctor for his comment. I didn’t have nausea – except for one really bad day after surgery – prior to returning to my daily routine.

    Just thought I’d share as it is pretty obvious there are many different types of post-op experiences and there is not a standard recovery time.

  51. Cornel says:

    Wow, great article. First of all sorry for my English, i’m from Europe 🙂 i got a GB removal 2 weeks ago. My gallbladder was full of stones and shrinked and died from several years – chronic illness. This is why, now, i feel better they say. The surgeon try a mini laparoscopy (with one single incision through the bellybutton) but switched to normal lap with 4 incisions (still better than open one). I walk after 5 hours when i puke some green liquid (bile actually) twice. After a dose of antivomitive med i was ok. Next day i was home with moderate pain – no pills for that. Just Nexium (omeprazole here) for 30 days. After 2 weeks i drink i cand drink a little coffee (natural, fresh grounded) i start to explore food diversity such vegan pizza, boiled eggs, salmon, low fat cheese. Otherwise i eat soups, rice with chicken meat, trout fish, greek and Italian chese like mozzarella, bananas, apples and some steamed vegetables. I hope to drink a beer in a month because the summer is almost here.
    Cost of operation was zero because i pay taxes from my salary otherwise the cost is around $1200 in a private clinic or less in a public hospital (half i guess).
    It is good to be operated in this era because you can find a lot of useful information on the Internet like this article. Thanks, i wish you all a good quality life after the gallbladder removal.

  52. Tinu says:

    Thanks for writing this blog! It is a very encouraging one!
    I had mine on 2nd May..its 22nd today. I had considerably more pain while sleeping and all..but now inspite of the littlr pain still left Iam resuming my normal diet and will also return to my normal exercises. Though I find I cannot walk as freely but guess it needs practice. I have resumed cooking and doing household work. Thankfully I have about a month for relocating to another city for a job offer I got.
    Thanks again! 🙂

  53. Lisa quiles says:

    I’m so happy that you are doing great. I had my gall bladder removed 6/13/17 first 3-4 days was so hard for me to get up/sit. 4 days later I started having ache body with slight fever, 1week later (today) I had to put those exercise belt on cuz my belly still aches a lil to give me support it helped ALOT!! I’m still taking the “oxycodone” just to sleep at night I’m praying I feel better cuz I’m supposed to go back to work in a week and I don’t feel my body is ready. What should I do?

  54. I was looking to see how soon can I return to my exercise routine and I came across your blog. Really good blog post and very similar experience to mine except I only took one over counter Tylenol when I got home from the hospital and never experienced any pain. I think because I had a biofeedback session before the surgery (that is the only thing I can think of).
    I was a bit shocked to see that you had to pay $1650 out of pocket even though you had surgery. I live in Canada and didn’t have to pay a dime :). Actually, it is very strange for us to hear that people in the US have to pay for routine medical attention.
    It’s been almost 3 weeks since my surgery so I guess, no more excuses, back to the gym with me, of course taking it easy.
    Thanks again for a great post.

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