Medical procedures can be scary and frightening at times – after all, for us laymen, the whole medical profession is a world of cutting and bandaging and drugs and strange instruments. It’s normal to experience anxiety when you find out you need gallstone surgery, and to ask questions about what it is, how it is performed, and what you can expect. Rest assured, however, that it is not a complicated procedure and that the operation has been thought through very carefully. To give you an idea of what you and your body may undergo, here is a short description of the removal procedure: what you can expect before and during gallstone surgery.
What happens before
Whilst each patient is unique and whilst cases may vary, any of the following are common prior to the surgery:
- There will be blood work, a medical evaluation, and possibly an EKG (depending on your health and age)
- You may have to provide a signed statement after talking to the physician about the procedure
- You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the operation
- You may be asked to stop taking specific medicines, such as blood thinners
The operation itself
The operation itself is performed whilst the patient is under general anaesthesia, so the patient is at no moment aware of what is happening and wakes up once the whole procedure is finished.
The surgeon will use a tube-like instrument (called a cannula) to enter the abdominal area. He or she will then use a laparoscope (inserting it into the hole). The laparoscope allows the surgeon to see a magnified image of the patient’s internal organs on a TV screen. The surgeon will check for any stones, and may even take an X-ray during the procedure to ensure all are counted.
The gallbladder is then carefully detached and removed through the opening, and all the wounds and openings are closed using stitches, surgical tape, or glue.
Once the operation is finished, you’ll wake up and may experience some pain once the anaesthesia wears off – this is completely normal. Chances are, however, that you may be able to go home the very same day of the procedure provided that your body tolerates digesting liquids. You’ll be encouraged to do some low-intensity activity like walking, but this will of course depend on how you feel; you should never strain yourself. As gallstone surgery in Surrey experts from Londonsurgicalgroup.co.uk can attest, most patients can go back to normal life routines after about a week – which means they can drive, do light lifting, and perform other low-intensity activities. Your physician will expect to see you about two to three weeks after the operation to see how you’re doing, and (barring complications) to pronounce you healthy and fully recovered.