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The most immediate after effects of gall bladder surgery are grogginess, abdominal pain and discomfort, and occasional shoulder pain. These are all direct side effects of the surgical procedure and should fade during recovery. It is not uncommon for patients to experience nausea shortly after the surgery, as well. Many patients report feeling constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn in the days that follow gall bladder surgery. Long-term after effects include dramatic weight gain and subsequent health risks.
Patients usually feel pain in their abdominal regions shortly after a gall bladder removal, often aggravated by lying in certain positions. This is because the wounds created during surgery have not completely healed yet. In some cases, patients will require a tube to drain any excess bile out of the body, causing additional discomfort. Patients with low tolerance for medication used during surgery can feel sickly, fatigued, and dizzy immediately after the procedure.
Shoulder pain is one of the more uncommon after effects of gall bladder surgery and is felt when the patient regains consciousness. The pain is likely due to the necessary inflation of the abdomen during the procedure, although this typically accounts more for soreness in the abdomen rather than the shoulders. The gas also often makes patients in recovery feel bloated. The excess air usually exits the body through burping or flatulence.
During recovery, the patient's gastrointestinal tract will need to readjust and normalize. Excessive strain on the tissue surrounding the abdomen can make defecating difficult for the patient. On the other hand, excessive bile leaking into the abdomen due to the absence of the gall bladder can irritate the digestive tract, resulting in diarrhea. Some patients might experience both of these after effects of gall bladder surgery during recovery.
Without the gall bladder to store bile, the liver tends to produce less of the enzyme. This negatively impacts the body's ability to break down fat, increasing the risk of abnormal weight gain. Medical professionals often advise gall bladder removal patients to reduce the amount of fat in their diets. This helps prevent obesity, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, among other serious health problems.
Although cases are rare, some individuals report developing bile stones after gall bladder removal. This occurs when the liver produces excess bile and the body is unable to dispose of it. The bile can harden in the surrounding area, becoming stone-like and causing intense pain and discomfort. A second surgical procedure might be required if the patient is unable to pass the stones naturally.