Friday, May 4, 2007

Potential Risks

Most patients who have gallbladder surgery experience few complications. Patients who undergo any type of surgery face risks such as allergic reaction to anesthesia, infection or bleeding.

Gallbladder surgery sometimes results in injury to the bile ducts. When this occurs, it may cause the bile duct to leak bile, resulting in a painful infection. If the injury is significant enough, additional surgery may be required to repair it.
A significant percentage of people who have gallbladder surgery go on to develop diarrhea. Although this usually improves with time, it can last for years. Diarrhea may be a result of an increase in bile that enters the large intestine because there is no longer a gallbladder to store bile. The bile that enters the large intestine prevents the absorption of water and acts as a laxative. Antidiarrheal medications and a high-fiber diet can help reduce this diarrhea. Patients also may be urged to avoid dairy products, fatty foods and spicy dishes. Patients who do not experience diarrhea may nonetheless find that their bowel movements increase in frequency and that their stool is softer following surgery. In some cases, a gallstone may be discovered in the bile ducts weeks or even years after the gallbladder has been removed. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is usually successful in eliminating such gallstones.

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