Gallbladder removal or cholecystectomy is typically performed when you have had at least one gallstone attack. Most cholecystectomies are performed laparoscopically -- using a long instrument with a tiny camera on the end -- because this typically results in a quick recovery and complications are minimal. Gas pains are common after laparoscopic procedures because carbon dioxide is injected into the abdomen to improve the surgeon's view. Although most gas is removed, some of it remains after the procedure. Constipation can also cause gas pain after surgery.
Position yourself on your side if you have shoulder pain caused by the carbon dioxide irritating the diaphragm. Bring your knees to your chest and hold this position for 5 to 15 minutes. Another helpful position for shoulder pain is lying on your back with your hips elevated on several pillows.
Walk as soon as you are allowed to do so. Early walking after surgery helps your body to recover more quickly. Since surgery slows the gastrointestinal system, gas builds up and you may become constipated. Walking helps to dissipate the gas and promote digestion. Begin slowly and work up to your usual activity level in about a week.
Take pain medications for surgical pain as ordered by your surgeon, but do not overdo it. Narcotics can slow the digestive system, causing constipation and gas.
Eat a high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to prevent constipation. Drink plenty of water and take a stool softener if needed for constipation. Avoid fatty foods that may cause gas, although you may add them to your diet later.
Take an over-the-counter medication such as simethicone for gas pains, unless your surgeon has advised against it.