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Surgery is often used to treat gallbladder cancer. One common procedure is a cholecystectomy, in which the entire gallbladder is removed. In general, it can take several weeks to fully recover from a cholecystectomy. However, each patient’s recovery might look a bit different, depending on his or her age and health and the surgical approach utilized (minimally invasive or traditional).

Recovering from minimally invasive gallbladder surgery

In some instances, a surgeon may be able to remove the gallbladder using minimally invasive techniques. When a cholecystectomy is performed through small incisions, the risk of major complications is lower than when the procedure is performed using a more traditional approach. The recovery process tends to be shorter as well. Most patients recover from minimally invasive gallbladder cancer surgery within a few weeks.

What to expect after a cholecystectomy

Minor side effects are common after a cholecystectomy, regardless of whether a traditional or minimally invasive surgical approach was utilized. Fatigue and pain at the incision site are to be expected, although supportive care providers can help a patient manage these issues until they go away.

While serious complications are uncommon, the following side effects should be immediately discussed with a physician:

  • Swelling or bleeding at the incision site
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation that lasts longer than three days
  • Major cramping or swelling in the abdomen
  • Fever or chills
  • Yellowing of the skin

During the first few weeks following gallbladder cancer surgery, patients are usually advised to rest and give their bodies time to heal. Strenuous activities should only be resumed after a surgeon has given his or her approval.

Patients who have gallbladder cancer surgery performed at Moffitt Cancer Center have access to a comprehensive range of supportive care services throughout the recovery process. We’re committed to providing everything our patients need so they can focus on getting better – and we don’t require referrals. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.