Life After Gallbladder Removal

Your gallbladder serves a purpose, but you can get along without it just fine. When it’s healthy and functioning properly, your gallbladder concentrates, stores, and releases bile so you can easily digest fatty foods. 
Most people cruise through life never giving their gallbladder a second thought, but up to 15% of Americans end up with gallbladder problems. In most cases, removing the pear-shaped organ is the best way to resolve the issues.
In the greater Houston, Texas area, there’s no better place to go for gallbladder care than Buckminster Farrow, MD. With offices in Katy and Houston, Dr. Farrow is the go-to specialist for any gallbladder problem. He’s a board-certified, widely published, award-winning leader in the field, and he’s known for his compassionate, patient-centered style. 
If you need to have your gallbladder removed, you’re in good hands with Dr. Farrow. Here’s what you can expect in the days, months, and years following your gallbladder surgery



Recovering from gallbladder surgery

Dr. Farrow opts for laparoscopic surgery whenever possible, which means you go home on the day of your surgery. It also means you’ll feel less pain, have a lower chance of complications, and heal more quickly than you would if you had traditional open surgery. 

It typically takes about two weeks to fully recover from minimally invasive gallbladder removal surgery. Plan to take at least a week off work or school so you can rest and recuperate. Your incisions are small, but they still need time to heal. 

Avoid strenuous exercise, and don’t lift anything heavy for the first two weeks. We give you comprehensive aftercare instructions, but feel free to call us with any concerns or questions.

During your recovery period, be kind to your digestive system. It’s best to limit your diet to clear liquids, like chicken broth or gelatin, before you begin eating solid foods again.

Watch what you eat

Once you’ve healed, you might be eager to get back to “normal,” but you may need to establish a new normal. You may not be able to chow down on all your favorite foods — at least not right away.

High-fiber foods should be on your watch list. While fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, it also produces gas, so you may need to limit your intake for a while. Here are a couple foods to introduce slowly back into your diet:

  • Bran
  • Beans and legumes
  • Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds and nuts

High-fat and deep-fried foods can also pose a problem, since your gallbladder was the main component of the fat-digesting process. For the first few months after your gallbladder removal, stay away from full-fat dairy, fatty red meat, poultry skin, and anything fried.

Everyone is different: some people can go back to eating as they did before their gallbladder removal with no problems whatsoever, and others find they need to avoid certain things for the rest of their lives, such as foods that are:

  • Spicy
  • Fried
  • Highly processed
  • Fatty
  • Sugary
  • Loaded with carbohydrates

By introducing these items slowly and intentionally, you can spot the ones that cause you problems and cross them off your diet — or at least be prepared for the consequences if you eat them. 

Within 2-3 months, you should begin to tolerate these foods better, but do yourself a favor and start off slowly.

Practice portion control

Without the help of your gallbladder, your digestive system needs to rely on other organs to process your meals. You can help it overcome the handicap by eating smaller meals that give your body a chance to digest your food completely. 

Small meals are one way to make sure you don’t overwhelm your gallbladder-less digestive system, but you can do one better by spacing your meals out. Small meals eaten every few hours ensures proper digestion, reduces gas, and prevents you from getting too hungry and overeating. 

These are good eating habits for everyone, even those with a healthy gallbladder, so you may find that you continue with this new routine for the rest of your life. 

To learn more about your gallbladder, if and when you need to have yours removed, and what to expect if you do, schedule a consultation at Buckminster Farrow, MD by calling our friendly staff or booking online today.