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Sjogren's Syndrome Support

Possible Gallbladder Removal


#1

Had an abdominal ultrasound on 2/13…I have gallstones. So I have an appt with a surgeon on 2/22 to discuss my options. I was told 3 or 4 years ago that I had a “few” gallstones but was not referred to a surgeon then as I was not having any problems like I am now.

I am hesitant to get my gallbladder taken out for a few reasons…I HATE the whole idea of having ANY surgeries…I’m afraid of weight gain…Fear of complications from Sjogren’s (I haven’t even been dx a year so I am still learning & I am terrified of getting stitches infected or something worse).

If anyone has had any surgeries (laparoscopic or other) I would LOVE to hear from you!! I may not even need surgery but I am just trying to prepare as much as possible before my appt with the surgeon…

TIA!!
Lisa


#2

I haven’t had gallbladder surgery but have had multiple other surgeries, primarily orthopedic. I’m on a biologic for my psoriatic arthritis, and have had to take a break from it for the surgery and recovery. No problems with infection or anything like that. If you need general anesthesia you should discuss specifics about eye ointment, mouth and throat dryness, etc. I seem to remember that there might be a piece from the Sjogren’s syndrome foundation about surgery. Found it - https://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/living-with-sjogrens/surgery-tips


#3

You are SOOOOO great!!! Thanks so so much!! That link is so helpful!! I plan on printing it out and taking it with me to my appt with the surgeon (and of course I will have extra copies IF in fact I do need surgery)

Much thanks!!
Lisa


#4

Nobody LIKES the idea of having surgery, but sometimes you get to the point of needing to have it done to preserve your quality of life, or even preserve your life! I had my gall bladder removed years ago, before the advent of laparoscopic surgery. I had several mild attacks (aching, nausea) before the big, excruciating attack when the gallbladder came close to rupturing. The surgery was an emergency when I was away from home at a conference in a city 250 miles away. (I don’t recommend emergency surgery away from home, LOL.) It was nasty and very painful: the incision was from sternum to navel. These days, it’s done through three little poke holes, and it’s day surgery. Any surgery has complications and risks, though, so it’s not something to undertake lightly. Your surgeon will brief you on that.

After I recovered from the surgery, I realized that my gall bladder had caused me much more grief than two mild and one excruciating attack. My energy level improved, I no longer had what I thought was a “sensitive tummy” and everyone commented on how well I looked. I think the thing had been festering under the radar for quite some time.

Weight gain? I don’t see why a gall bladder removal would cause you to gain weight. But if you’ve been eating low fat and sparingly to control symptoms, then when you feel good after the surgery and start ordering fish and chips again, yes, you might pack on a few pounds.

I’ve also had two knee replacements and a hip replacement. The other hip will be replaced, but not certain when yet. All that has been compliments of my Psoriatic Arthritis. Oh yes, and then there was the carpal tunnel release, and a deviated nasal septum repair.

You are very wise to learn as much as you can before seeing the surgeon so that you can have a well-informed discussion. Every surgery has its risks, and its potential benefits. When one outweighs the other, that’s your decision made much simpler.

There are lots of resources on the internet for learning about the procedure, as well as discussion groups. And if you have any other questions, this is probably a great place to ask: this is a kind, generous and supportive group!

All the best to you. Let us know what happens at the consult!

Seenie from Moderator Support


#5

Glad to be of help. Seenie had some good points that she made as well, about her personal experience with gall bladder surgery, as well as recovery.


#6

thanks for your reply…I have been reading a lot of pros & cons of having the surgery vs not having the surgery right now. I have been having mild attacks. Some pain, not excruciating…yet… but one day I did have 3 attacks in one day. At this point it’s just getting annoying. But I am aware that one day I will more than likely have the “excruciating pain” so I am trying to decide, should I get it out before that happens or??? I know the surgeon will give me more info to help me make the right decision.

As far as weight gain goes…I have been to several different sights online and a few have mentioned weight gain. One in particular was dedicated to how more Dr’s should inform their patients BEFORE they agree to surgery that there is a strong possibility that they WILL indeed gain weight after they remove their gallbladder. I know the internet is littered with “alternative facts” lol so I was planning to bring that up with the surgeon at my consult.

Thanks again for your input…it is much appreciated!

Lisa


#7

Mild episodes aren’t so bad, really just an annoyance in the category of periods and common colds. But let me tell you, a full-blown gallbladder attack is not something you want to experience. I suppose the chances of your having “the big one” depends on the size of your stones (and who knows what else). I think I’d be asking the surgeon in his experience, given your condition now, how likely is a major attack for you. If he says “only a matter of time” I think I might be tempted to take control of when you have the surgery. Because you know how these things work: your five-alarm fire will happen the night before a major family occasion, or December 24th, or on the second day of your tropical beach vacation.

As for weight gain, it seems counterintuitive to me: I would have thought that without a holding tank for the stuff that helps digest fat, the fat would rush through without getting “processed”. Some people without gallbladders find that when they eat greasy food, they get the runs. But what do I know? I only know that I felt way better after getting rid of that offending part.

And something else. I’m not sure of this, but check with your surgeon. I believe that if you end up with an infected, swollen or (heaven forbid) ruptured gall bladder, they are likely to have to do the open surgery. But like I say, that’s one to ask the surgeon.

Your appointment’s next week … make sure to write all your questions down. And let us know how it went!

Seenie


#8

To be blunt, you are over thinking this. Gall bladder surgery isn’t an elective procedure. Either the stones pass (almost every body has them) and you are okay. If they don’t pass they get stuck and you have excruciating pain until the gall bladder is removed with the stones or you die from the complications of leaving it.

Of course the longer you wait the more damage and the higher likelihood that you will have an open procedure with a scar from your rib cage to somewhere below your navel a week long hospitalization and months long recovery as opposed to a day surgery and two band-aids.

Dunno about weight gain. over 80% of gall bladder surgeries occur with folks who are overweight or have been recently to begin with, so it’s impossible to tell if it’s the surgery or the “genes”

TJ


#9

I agree with the others about the surgery- not personal experience but one of my friends had had several minor episodes, but the major one came when she was looking after her teenage son and elderly mother, and hubby was away with work and couldn’t be contacted because he was doing ‘top security’ computer systems and wasn’t allowed to have phone contact!! So probably a planned surgery would be easier to manage.
Hope your appt. goes well.