Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Discharge Instructions

Listed below are discharge instructions for your post operative care. Most people take several days to a week off of work to recuperate after their gallbladder is removed. You will most likely tire easily for about 1-2 weeks. This is normal. Plan to take rest periods throughout each day as you feel you need them. Occasionally patients may have trouble with bowel movements for up to a month after surgery; constipation may be relieved by increasing fluid intake or taking a stool softener or mild laxative, diarrhea should subside within a few weeks. Generally patients find they are back to their usual routine within 1-2 weeks after surgery and fully recovered within a month.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol) regular or extra strength 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed for mild pain.

Vicodin (Acetaminophen with Codeine)(prescription only) as directed for moderate pain.

Over the counter stool softener or laxative daily as needed for constipation.


Try to drink 8-10 glasses per day Juice or water).

For the first few days, you may eat whatever was easy to digest before surgery and then progress to a normal diet as tolerated.

Bathing Showering

You may shower/bathe 24 hours after surgery.

You may use a mild soap to gently cleanse your incision and carefully pat dry.

Activities at Home

Gradually increase your activity. Take rest periods as needed.

Get adequate amounts of sleep each night.

Avoid heavy lifting (> 20 Ibs.) or strenuous activity for 1 week or as directed by your physician.

Avoid contact sports. Perform lighter aerobic exercise a few days after surgery (e.g. walking, biking, swimming, golfing, jogging etc.).

Use common sense – if it hurts, don’t do it.


You may resume driving when you no longer take narcotic pain medications.

Care of Incision

Brace your incisions with a small pillow when coughing and/or sneezing.

You may cover your incisions with loose sterile gauze or Band-Aids to reduce irritation that may occur from contact with clothing.

Watch for the following signs and symptoms and notify our office if these occur:

  • Temperature over 101.OF
  • Drainage from wound
  • Increasing swelling, redness or tenderness of the wound
  • Increased pain in the abdomen
  • Persistent nausea and/or vomiting

Sexual Activity

You may return to previous level of activity when comfortable.

Follow-up Care

When you get home, call your physician’s office to make a follow-up appointment for 1-2 weeks after surgery date.

Each day you should continue to improve. Be sure to report any new pain or other issues of concern promptly to your physician. Assume that you will feel better each day and remember that any adverse symptom may be indicative that you are developing a serious post-operative complication.

Content reviewed and updated on September 26, 2014.