The length of time it takes for a person to recover after gallbladder surgery often depends on the type of surgery the person underwent. Generally, minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopic surgeries, require less recovery time than more invasive procedures. Most people begin to feel better and have less pain only a few days after minimally invasive surgery. Often, however, a person needs to allow a recovery period of at least four to six weeks before he can fully resume all of his normal activities. Depending on how strenuous a person's job is, he can likely return to work within two weeks, but heavy lifting is usually prohibited for the first six weeks following surgery.
When a person has laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, a surgeon uses small incisions and a tiny camera for the procedure. Since his surgical instruments are inserted into these tiny incisions, the surgery is considered less invasive than the one a person would have with a traditional gallbladder surgery, which is often referred to as open surgery. As a result, the patient's recovery is typically less painful and may also prove faster than it would if he had a large incision. Fortunately, most people who undergo gallbladder surgery have laparoscopic procedures rather than the invasive surgeries that were commonly done in the past.
After gallbladder surgery, a person can usually expect to experience some pain and soreness. Some people may find moving around uncomfortable for the first few days, but this normally fades quickly. Pain relievers, either over the counter or prescription, are usually helpful for controlling discomfort in the initial days of recovery. A gallbladder surgery patient usually returns to his normal routine at home gradually, and many return to driving within just a few days. If a patient is taking narcotic drugs for pain relief, however, he may need to wait until he is no longer under their influence to resume driving.
The total recovery period after gallbladder surgery is likely to span about four to six weeks. Many patients are able to return to their jobs within about two weeks, unless their jobs involve a lot of strenuous activity. For example, an individual with an office job can likely return to his job faster than a construction worker. In fact, some people go back to work just a few days or so after surgery because their jobs are not very strenuous. Patients are usually advised to avoid heavy lifting for about six weeks, and most people can resume all of their normal activities within six weeks' time.