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A gallbladder removal removal surgery (cholecystectomy) is a very safe and quick procedure but like all other surgeries, cholecystectomy may also result in some complications.

There are two main kinds of complications of gallbladder removal.

  • Immediate complications : These are acute in onset and may occur within hours, days, or even weeks after the surgery.
  • Delayed complications : These are the chronic side-effects of the gallbladder removal procedure and may occur months or years after the surgery.

Immediate Complications Of Gallbladder Removal

Immediate complications can occur right after the surgery due to several factors. Improper anesthesia and monitoring, weak suturing, dehydration, and unhygienic conditions are some of the main factors that may result in complications.

The immediate complications of gallbladder removal include:

Post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) : This is a common side effect of gallbladder removal. Every seventh patient will experience symptoms of post-cholecystectomy syndrome after getting their gallbladder removed. The symptoms of PCS are similar to those caused by gallstones but much milder. Symptoms of Post-cholecystectomy syndrome include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain (usually right upper quadrant)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (Jaundice)
  • A slightly raised body temperature
  • Anorexia - loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Discomfort

Post-cholecystectomy syndrome is a poorly differentiated condition. It presents with vague symptoms. Most patients are unable to explain their feelings. They feel something is wrong.

Bleeding : This is a very dangerous but rare complication of cholecystectomy. Excess bleeding from the site of incision can occur after or during the surgery. It can be internal or external. External bleeding is easy to manage but concealed or internal bleeding is very risky. Internal bleeding can lead the patient to shock, coma, or even death if not treated.

Leakage of bile : Bile is a greenish fluid which is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. The duct carrying this fluid is called the bile duct. This duct is clipped during the surgery. Bile may leak out during or after the surgery. Bile leakage can result in septicemia (infection) which is why it should be managed immediately. The leaked fluid can easily be drained out. Only a few cases require the surgical removal of leaked bile.

Injury to intestine or blood vessel : This complication can occur after any kind of surgery. A surgical instrument may rupture or damage nearby organs or blood vessels.

Delayed Complications Of Gallbladder Removal

Late or delayed complications are usually due to the patient's ignorance or bad eating habits. Proper dietary habits are of the utmost importance during the immediate gallbladder removal recovery period, and after any surgery, patients are obliged to follow the guidelines given by their surgeon.

Ignoring the doctor's instructions and warnings may result in several complications. Should you have questions about the instructions or worries about post-surgery symptoms such as bruising, swelling, pain, and nausea — which are very common — it is always crucial to consult your doctor's office directly

Delayed complications occur months or years after the surgery. Some common delayed complications of cholecystectomy include:

  1. Hyperacidity: Eating foods that are rich in fat can cause excessive production of gastric acid. High levels of acid in the stomach result in indigestion, gas, bloating, burps, and heartburn. Patients should avoid spicy and fat-rich food. Should you have questions about your ideal post cholecystectomy diet, again, always consult your surgeon. Here, however, learning from other gallbladder removal surgery patients can also help a great deal.

  2. Blood clots (Deep venous thrombosis - DVT) : deep venous thrombosis is a late complication of cholecystectomy. Months or years after the surgery, the blood may become so thick that it begins forming clots. This is a fatal complication because these clots can block any blood vessel, resulting in insufficient blood supply to an organ.

  3. Infection : A long time after the surgery, the patient may develop infection and fever. Most patients are unaware that this infection is due to their surgery.

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