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Gallbladder Surgery...

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Old 08-13-2011, 03:03 AM   #1
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Anyone ever had their gallbladder removed? I started having attacks last week and have had three horrible ones so far (one bad enough they had to give me dilaudid to stop the pain and spasms). They did the ultrasound today and my doctor is sending me to general surgeon to discuss removing my gallbladder. I've had surgery before, but I'm wondering what to expect with this one. My MIL is making me nervous talking about her experience (which was years and years ago) and how it took her forever to recover and it was sooooo painful, etc. etc. So I was looking for some more recent (and less exaggerated) experiences.

Also, is there any alternative to surgery? My MIL keeps telling me they can break up the stones with ultrasound, but in all my (albeit limited) research I've not been able to find anything about that. So anything else they could try besides surgery or just living with the attacks?
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:25 AM   #2
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My father had his gallbladder removed. That was several years ago now. He was over 60 years old, though.

He recovered from the surgery in about two weeks.

Overall a low fat diet was key for him. Before the surgery it prevented attacks if he kept his fat to about 30 grams a day, and afterwards he stuck to that and ended up losing weight, as well.

I don't know of any alternative to surgery, except for keeping a tight lid on grams of fat.

Best of wishes with whatever you end up deciding.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:28 AM   #3
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I'm due for gallbladder surgery too. There's a drug they can give you, but it takes a very long time to dissolve the gallstones, it has unpleasant side effects, and the thing is, once you get gallstones then you are going to keep getting them. So surgery is pretty much the only option for most people. Keep your fat levels low, and in particular make sure you never have too much fat at any one time, as this is what stimulates the gall bladder to contract and release a stone.

Some people will recommend that you try a gall bladder flush, also known as a liver flush. It is a complete scam, and indeed you can read more about that by googling "gall bladder flush scam".

There's a few posts about gall bladder surgery on this forum, try running it through the search. It doesn't sound too bad, and a lot of people comment that it's far less painful than an attack of biliary colic.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:34 AM   #4
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I had my gallbladder removed about 5 years ago. I had it done laparoscopically where the very small incisions. It worked for me, and I had a short recovery too but the low-fat diet was really important.

I'd stay on top of this health issue and get it taken care of.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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I had gallbladder surgery in August 1997. I had the laparoscopic surgery and went into the hospital in the morning, had the surgery and came out in the evening. The first night home was a bit painful but they sent me home with a prescription for painkillers. I never had that filled as I had a bottle of tylenol at home with me. I only woke once in the night from the pain but I was mostly sleeping off the effects of the surgery itself. I was also pretty thirsty on the way home from the hospital.

The next morning, I was okay but a bit sore and stiff when I walked around. I was a bit sore and stiff for the next few days, could not do much and could not bend over but after a week I was okay.

Granted, you're not going to be doing anything strenous after a week but you'll be feeling a lot better and no more painful attacks. The attacks were worse then the after-effects from the surgery. I am glad that I had it done and now I cannot even tell where most of the incisions are because they healed that well.
The one that I can see is only 1 centimeter long.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:43 AM   #6
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I had my gallbladder out just this past March. I had complications after that were pretty painful and kept me in the hosp for a week after, but now that the whole ordeal is done, I'm fine!

Here are 13 of my the 14 stones that I had:


The 14th one jumped out right as they were operating, and lodged in my bile duct. That's what kept me in pain and in the hosp for a week after surgery. But it passed and now I am fit as a fiddle! (And don't freak out, they usually don't jump out and lodge in your bile duct like that!)

Just get the gallbladder removed, don't bother with trying to get them to break up the stones.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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My mother and brother have had their GBs out and they did fine. Recovery was not bad at all. They both had it done laparoscopically which just leaves a small scar (or two). I think the worst pain was from the gas where they blow up your abdomen. It takes a few days to get out of your body.

Funny though, I was talking to my mom yesterday. She's been having some stomach pains lately and she had been talking to my brother and they both said that if they didn't know that they had had their GBs removed, they would still think that they were in there because they still have the same kinds of symptoms that they had before (nausea, pains when they eat ceratin foods). My mom said that she doesn't have that sharp "GB attack" pain anymore though.

Best wishes to you on your surgery

Edit: I have heard of ultrasound for gall stones, kind of like when they bust up kidney stones with lithotripsy. Ask the surgeon about it when you go. You may or may not be a candidate, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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Old 08-15-2011, 05:27 AM   #8
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I had mine out several years ago. My first and only surgery. They did laproscopic. I believe 4 small incisions. The worst part is the gas they use to inflate your abdomen for the laproscopic surgery. But that dissipates by the next morning. I had a lot of nausea the evening and night of my surgery. But other than that, no problems. Glad I had it out. Took 2 weeks off from work.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:09 AM   #9
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I had mine out about 5 years ago too- seems pretty similar to the other posters. Same deal with the lapriscopic surgery- I think I have 4 small scars. It was my first surgery, so I was nervous, but it was really not a huge deal. I had my surgery in the morning, went home around noon. I remember throwing up a couple of times and feeling pretty bloated, but I wasn't in too much pain. I really don't remember much else about the recovery, so that's probably a good sign! I couldn't have been in bed more than 5 or 6 days though.

Follow dr's orders and you should be fine!
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:18 AM   #10
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my friend just had her gallbladder out last month and it seemed to be a pretty simple surgery for her...im assuming it was laproscopic but im not sure...she spent a few days recovering at home and then was able to go walk around stores with her friends...i think it was an easy recovery for her at home too...i dont remember if or how much time she took from work, since her job is primarily sitting at a desk anyhow, but im not sure....if you have specific questions i could ask her for you
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:05 AM   #11
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I procrastinated more than a year after diagnosed with a GB full of stones because I was afraid of the surgery. Finally an attack that ended in the ER convinced me it was time. I was hospitalized overnight and once home only took one dose of the pain meds. The pain from an attack was way worse than even the first day after surgery, I felt pretty foolish about waiting so long.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:21 AM   #12
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I've been hearing a lot lately that a low-fat diet can make gall bladder problems worse... No idea what happens after surgery, though. If you don't eat a good amount of fat, the bile sits in your gallbladder and gets thick as cholesterol builds up, eventually forming small stones (stones are 80-90% cholesterol). Regular meals with good fats exercises your bile duct and keeps the bile thin and new, lessening the chance of forming stones.

Of course this goes against all the mainstream theories But I find it a compelling, or at the very least, interesting, idea.

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Old 08-16-2011, 10:38 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for your stories and advice. I ended up having to go to the ER on Sunday morning for an attack and they decided to keep me overnight and do the surgery Monday morning. My fears about the surgery were completely unfounded, the pain is minimal and short of not being able to pick my kids up I'm doing okay. Thanks again for all the reassurance and advice!
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latchkey Princess View Post
Thanks to everyone for your stories and advice. I ended up having to go to the ER on Sunday morning for an attack and they decided to keep me overnight and do the surgery Monday morning. My fears about the surgery were completely unfounded, the pain is minimal and short of not being able to pick my kids up I'm doing okay. Thanks again for all the reassurance and advice!
Best of luck with a speedy and healthy recovery. Yes, you won't be able to lift *anything* for a while but once you are all healed completely you will feel so much better.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:22 AM   #15
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Glad you are feeling better and that the surgery was no big deal!! Yay!
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