Healthy Living

How to Prepare for a Cholecystectomy

How to Prepare for a Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is a surgery done to remove the gallbladder. Such procedure is performed as a result of many causes. In most cases, a cholecystectomy is performed to relieve the patient from complications caused by the inflammation of the gallbladder.

A gallbladder is an organ that is located just below the liver. It is the organ responsible for the storage of bile, which is a digestive juice that is produced by the liver. Once bile is stored in the gallbladder, it is later used for digestion purposes.

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A cholecystectomy is necessary if multiple complications arise due to gallbladder problems. Complications may include:

  • gallbladder cancer
  • inflammation of the gallbladder
  • malfunctioning gallbladder as a result of other complications
  • cholelithiasis (presence of stones in the gallbladder)

Cholecystectomy is performed through two different types of surgeries: the open procedure and the laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Both procedures require enough and careful preparation to make sure that they are done in the right way.

Most of the preparation is done before the surgery. Proper preparation is essential to have a safe surgery as well as a faster recovery after the operation.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a type of surgery that requires several abdominal incisions to remove the gallbladder. However, the procedure is much safer in terms of blood loss since the incisions are very small as compared to the open procedure.

During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a laparoscope is inserted into the body to locate the gallbladder. Once it is located, the surgeon will remove the organ through one of the incisions. The procedure will only take a very short time of just two hours and some patients may go home the same day of the surgery.

Open Cholecystectomy

Open cholecystectomy is a rather rare procedure but is performed mostly if there are complications that cannot be managed by a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. To perform this surgery, one big incision is made to remove the gallbladder. This type of procedure is usually accompanied by a lot of bleeding.

The following are ways through which you can prepare yourself for a cholecystectomy.

Before the Surgery

  1. Smoking - If you smoke, there are some guidelines that you should follow in preparation for your surgery. You are advised to quit smoking a few days before the procedure. Smoking is known to interfere with the breathing system once you are under surgery. Quitting smoking will also help you recover as soon as possible.
  2. About alcohol drinking - It is recommended that you avoid the consumption of alcohol before your surgery. If you won't regulate the amount of your alcohol intake, then you are at high risk of developing other complications such as bleeding, heart problems, and infections. A weakened immune system and a delayed recovery are also expected even if you only consume moderate amounts of alcohol before the procedure. 
  3. Sleep apnea - is a common condition that affects the breathing system of a person while asleep. It is a sleeping disorder that stops your breathing while you are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common one, which blocks the entire passage of air. To prevent complications during or after your surgery, always inform your doctor in advance if you are aware that you have sleep apnea.
  4. Medications - There are some medications that may interfere with the whole surgical procedure as well as your recovery. Some drugs have blood-thinning properties that may increase your risk for bleeding. To prevent this situation from happening, you are advised to inform your surgeon of any kind of medications you are currently taking, so you will know which ones to stop or continue taking.
  5. Within one month prior to your surgery - is a period when you are required to take some tests to ensure that your body is in the best condition for your surgery. It is called as a "pre-surgical testing." During this period, you will have to undergo tests such as blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart rhythm, and chest X-rays. A comprehensive report on your overall health status will also be made. It is also the time where you will be required to do some exercises to help strengthen your body and expand your lungs. Exercises can include:
  • coughing and breathing exercises
  • walking
  • biking
  • swimming

Specific Preparations for a Laparoscopic Procedure

A laparoscopic surgery is a serious procedure that should be performed with great care. As part of the preparation, it is always important to communicate with your surgeon about the details of the procedure and discuss what to expect during and after the operation. Talking with your surgeon will help in preventing other complications from happening such as excessive bleeding and cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder).

There are a number of examinations that you must undergo before the surgery. You will be tested for other medical conditions such as diabetes and bleeding abnormalities. Moreover, imaging studies are carried out to ensure the prevention of other possible complications.

Additionally, you are advised to take more liquids and bowel cleansing supplements three days prior to your day of surgery.

Other General Preparations for a Cholecystectomy

There are some other preparations that you are supposed to make as you approach the day of your surgery. They may include:

  • Making sure that you have someone to take you and pick you up from the hospital.
  • In case you experience any health problems as you approach your surgery such as fever, inform and call your surgeon about it.
  • Not eating or drinking anything past midnight the night prior to your surgery.


Cholecystectomy is a type of surgery that in most cases may depend on how much you prepare yourself. Anything left out during the preparation may cause serious complications to the whole procedure. Proper preparation will not only ensure a better surgery but also a quick recovery.

It is also advisable to contact your surgeon and seek clarification in case you do not know what to do. Also, make sure that you disclose all the information about your health to your surgeon before scheduling a surgery.