Thumbnail image of: Gallstones: Illustration
Thumbnail image of: Digestive System: Illustration
Thumbnail image of: Liver, Gallbladder, and Pancreas: Illustration

Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) and Common Duct Exploration Discharge Information

What is a cholecystectomy and common duct exploration?

Cholecystectomy is surgery to remove the gallbladder. The liver and gallbladder are part of your digestive system. The liver makes bile that helps your body break down the fat in food. Ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. The gallbladder is a small sac under your liver on your right side that stores bile.

You may need a cholecystectomy if you have:

  • Gallstones
  • Swelling or an infection in your gallbladder
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gallbladder cancer

How can I take care of myself when I go home?

How long it takes to get better depends on how well you recover and any complications you may have.

Management

  • Your provider will give you a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.
    • Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you are to take them, and why you take each one.
    • Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to.
    • Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.
    • Talk to your provider before you use any other medicines, including nonprescription medicines.
  • Your provider may prescribe medicine or other therapy to:
    • Treat pain
    • Treat or prevent an infection
    • Treat or prevent side effects, such as nausea or constipation, from other treatments
  • To care for your surgical wound:
    • Keep your surgical wound clean.
    • If you are told to change the dressing on your surgical wound, wash your hands before and after changing the dressing and after disposing of the dressing.
  • Follow activity restrictions, such as not driving or operating machinery, as recommended by your healthcare provider or pharmacist, especially if you are taking pain medicines.
  • Take care of your health. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Eat a healthy diet and try to keep a healthy weight. If you smoke, try to quit. If you want to drink alcohol, ask your healthcare provider how much is safe for you to drink. Learn ways to manage stress. Exercise according to your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Appointments

  • Follow your provider’s instructions for follow-up appointments.
  • Keep appointments for any testing you may need.
  • Talk with your provider about any questions or concerns you have.

Call your healthcare provider if you have new or worsening:

  • Bloating or belly pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Light colored bowel movements
  • Dark urine
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Signs of infection around your surgical wound. These include:
    • The area around the wound gets more red or painful
    • The wound area gets very warm to touch
    • You have blood, pus, or other fluid coming from the wound area
    • You have a fever higher than 101.5° F (38.6° C)
    • You have chills or muscle aches
Developed by RelayHealth.
Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-12-19
Last reviewed: 2014-12-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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