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Gallbladder surgery

hoover

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 15, 2011
Messages
355
Those of you who had to give up your gallbladder, would you do it again? Did you have any side effects?
I was reading some health forums and some of the results are :errrr: but I guess those are sites where most people have bad results like not being able to be any distance away from the washroom when eating certain foods and the symptoms of gallbladder attacks not going away afterwards. Losing your gallbladder and not being able to eat food without feeling (ahem) consequences sounds like it's not worth it.

I want to ask the dr if he can just remove the gallstones and leave the gallbladder behind, but I don't even know if that's a possibility... The attacks suck, but having continued digestive issues AND not being to eat a wide variety of foods? ;(
 

lulu

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 11, 2003
Messages
2,328
Mine had to come out-it was a mess. But apparently some infected bile remained in the abdominal cavity and created an abscess. It took two more years and another surgery to fix it. So there can be issues.

On the other hand, I really haven't had any digestive issues caused by the gallbladder removal.
 

katharath

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
2,833
Mine also had to come out, it was severely infected/inflamed (can't remember the exact medical terminology but the surgeon was surprised at how bad it was).

I won't go into the whole story - long and boring!- but I was in immense pain every day by the time they finally took it out, with daily attacks coming every time I ate, no matter what I ate. By the day before my surgery even tiny portions of jello were making me vomit and causing hours long attacks, and I'd lost about 50 lbs (this was actually ok though; I had it to lose!) simply bc I couldn't eat. It was really hard bc I had a 6 month old baby and a 4 year old to take care of while this was going on...

(The only reason it took me so long to get it taken out was medical professional slip ups - lost ultrasound images, didn't get results back for months, long wait time for a surgeon - when I finally got in to see the surgeon, I had deteriorated so much that he scheduled me for surgery the next morning, as he was very alarmed).

I had the laparoscopic surgery, woke up from it and literally immediately felt "better"; it's because my gallbladder was truly poisoning me. I never had another gallbladder attack/pain after surgery; but I'd have died if I hadn't gotten it out, so I really had to either way. I can truly say that it was not only lifesaving for me but my pain/attacks immediately disappeared. I was so grateful!!! I can't even express it. And the surgery was pretty easy, although I did have to have an unexpected drainage tube (due to the severity of the case, I guess?). But that was easy to deal with, no biggie. It was a fairly quick outpatient sx at my local hospital. My surgeon was great, too.

My mom and grandmother also had the surgery and to my knowledge, didn't suffer bad effects later.

But if you do have stomach upset afterwards, when your GB is gone, there are meds for that, and they work pretty well. (I've dealt with gastro issues apart from the GB thing, and have used several meds that help with those types of issues).

Sorry this is still so long - and believe me, it's my short version, lol!! But yes, I'd absolutely do it again, my outcome was great overall and it was necessary.

Oh just to add - about a year before I had it taken out, an ultrasound showed that I had a couple of tiny gallstones, but the GB itself looked fine, and I had no symptoms (attacks). It was about 5 months later that I started having attacks, and shortly after my youngest son was born (I was pregnant at that time), they became severe and only increased in severity until I had it taken out when my son was 6 months old. So I basically went from being asymptomatic to severe infection within a year. My point is - even if you feel fine or think you want to keep your GB in, do keep an eye on it, as this can definitely happen!

Again, apologies for length...I'm a rambler :(

ETA - as far as timeline, my surgery was just over eight years ago, to give you an idea.
 

kmarla

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
684
I started having gallbladder attacks two weeks after my daughter was born. In my inexperience I thought it was heartburn and so put up with the pain for almost ten years. Finally it became so constant and unbearable that I saw the specialist. He diagnosed the issue and scheduled immediate surgery. My procedure was done laparoscopically and I was sent home the same day. As I remember, recovery was about a week with discomfort, and then a few more weeks of no heavy lifting etc. I did have some of the side effects you mentioned, but these were managed with adding fibre to my diet each morning (those OTC packets you add and stir to juice). I had the surgery twenty years ago and haven't had any side effect issues for many years. I'm sure that today post surgical discomfort is managed much better, and there are likely also better ways to manage any negative side effects. I have zero regrets about having the surgery. It was absolutely necessary and the terrible pain of gallbladder attacks stopped immediately.
 

charleston1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
196
I had the gallbladder removed about two years ago - day surgery, four or five tiny incisions you can't hardly see now. Recovery was about a week.
I am very glad I had it as no more gall bladder attacks which were very painful.
Surgery went well and recovery went well.

As far as washroom problems go, there is no change. My gallbladder was "stuffed with stones and had stopped working years ago" the surgeon told me, so there is no difference. Yes, sometimes I get the runs or have to go to the bathroom immediately and that has not really changed but that is usually when I eat fatty foods so I try to not eat fatty foods. I also carry immodium in my purse (and that has not changed). Sorry if TMI.

Definitely was worth it. I never worry when I go on vacation if I will get an attack.
 

evergreen

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
463
Overwhelmingly, most people do great after having their gallbladder out! It is considered an extremely safe surgery, recovery can be fast (1-2 weeks) after "keyhole" or laparoscopic removal, and I'm in the medical profession and have never heard of a significantly increased risk of dietary intolerances afterward -- as you suggest, I think the health forums you're reading show a pretty biased view.

My father-in-law, who is elderly, had his gallbladder out a couple months ago and he is thrilled with the relief from pain after eating, now that he's back to his usual routines. I can't imagine any surgeon would remove just the stones since cutting into the gallbladder exposes you to risk of bile leaks if the cut doesn't heal well (and it won't, if your gallbladder is inflamed). There are few to no long-term consequences for most people of having your gallbladder removed that outweigh the problems of having it in (if you are having gallbladder issues). Surgery always has risks (as lulu's experience shows), but it is a singularly troublesome and useless organ. You don't need it, and it's hurting you! Get rid of it. :)
 

azstonie

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
3,758
I worked at Mayo and all my coworkers who had their GBs out changed their diets. They were very glad they had the surgery and felt the dietary changes were a trade off worth making.
 

hoover

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 15, 2011
Messages
355
Hi lulu - sorry to hear that you had complications. Hope you're all better now

Katharath - all the info is appreciated. My doc said there are risks like the blocked duct, but he says the risk is small (even though they all sound scary). I'm glad you feel better too! I'm like you and have other gastro issues too and the doc thinks most of the symptoms will resolve after my gallbladder is out.

Kmarla - I'm very happy for you that you've been pain free and no side effects for so long :appl: thank you for the tip about the fibre. I think I have some Metamucil in my medicine cabinet...

Charleston1 - it's good to hear that your surgery went very well. Yes, it's the fatty foods that scare me. IIdo eat pretty healthy most of the time, but I hope to still be able to have an occasional treat of ice cream, cake, fries or fried chicken :lickout:

Evergreen - thanks for the reassurance. I guess it was just wishful thinking hoping that there was an easier way to get rid of gallstones. Some people swear by cleanses where you drink olive oil, lemon juice/ apple cider vinegar, and Epsom salts, but my doc said if it was that easy, then surgeons wouldn't be needed as much.

Azstonie - I expect some change in my diet, but just hoping for something that's not so drastic I'll fail or be miserable.
 

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
3,560
I had to have mine out. My understanding is that if you have gallstones, you must have your gallbladder out because when you have an attack, the pain is caused by stones rising up into the ducts above the gallbladder and getting stuck. You'd better hope those suckers release and drop down into the bag, because if they don't, you need emergency surgery which is open surgery and then you're looking at a six-week surgery. Worst-case scenario, if you can't get medical attention and you're having a gallbladder attack which doesn't stop, it's fatal, starting with jaundice. That's only if you happen to be trapped on a desert island, of course, because the pain of a gallbladder attack which doesn't stop - ie stones which get completely stuck in those narrow ducts and will not drop back into the gallbladder - will drive you to the nearest hospital. My gallbladder attacks were extremely painful.

I had keyhole surgery and felt next to nothing. Recovery was about 4 days and the thing that hurt the most was the anesthetic. I had zero surgical pain and zero issues after.

I also have IBS, which pre-dates the gallstones by many, many years. Many people who have one, have the other. But that's another story.

It's not possible to have the stones out without taking out the gallbladder.
 
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