The gallbladder aids in digestion, delivering bile from the liver to the small intestine. Although the gallbladder is a functional organ, it is not necessary to to sustain life. For this reason, it can be surgically removed if your doctor feels this is necessary. Regardless of the procedure used for removal, there will be aftercare restriction such as weight lifting limits. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions.
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Any gallbladder disease can require the removal of your gallbladder but the most common problem is gallstones. Gallstones are hard, rock-like particles in your gallbladder that can lodge is your cystic or bile ducts. Eighty percent of gallstones are made from cholesterol, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. If the stones stop the flow of bile, serious complications can occur. Cholecystectomy or removal of your gallbladder would then be necessary. The weight restrictions and aftercare placed on you after removal depend on how your gallbladder is removed.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
A laparoscopic removal is the first choice of most physicians. This requires the surgeon to make tiny incisions in your abdomen so he can insert a small camera to guide him as he performs the procedure. The smaller incisions will both reduce pain and the risk of complications. The Colorado Springs Surgical Associates recommends not lifting any weight over 20 pounds from four to six weeks after a laparoscopic procedure. Lifting too much weight can cause a hernia at the umbilical incision.
Open Gallbladder Removal
Open gallbladder removal is more invasive, requiring a bigger incision. The surgeon will then reach into the cavity and remove the gallbladder. The recovery process is therefore longer than the laparoscopic approach. Due to the size of the incision, you should not lift anything over 10 to 15 pounds until your doctor grants permission in about four to eight weeks.
Each surgeon has his post-surgical protocol. It is important to precisely follow his instructions to ensure a smooth healing process. If you question whether something is too heavy to lift, talk with your doctor and first get his opinion. When in doubt, do not lift anything heavier than a glass of water without approval.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Colorado Springs Surgical Associates: Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
- Medline Plus: Gallbladder Removal - Open - Discharge
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Gallstones
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallstones and Gallbladder Disease - Symptoms
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse