After Hours, Holidays and Weekends
Tell the paging operator your surgeon's name and ask to speak to the doctor on call.
The following information will help you prepare you and your child for gallbladder surgery (also known as cholecystectomy) at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
You may have already received the information below during your child's pre-operative appointments. If you were already given the following printed information, the links on the left side of this page include more information to help you prepare.
If you have any questions, please contact us using the information in the right column of this page.
What can I expect from surgery?
The surgical procedure can be done one of two ways. If done laparoscopically, several small incisions are made in the abdomen. If done "open," one larger incision is made in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The surgeon will discuss with you which option is best for your child.
After surgery, bile flows from the liver (where it is made) through the common bile duct and into the small bowel. Because the gallbladder is absent, bile no longer can be stored between meals. In most people, this has little or no effect on digestion.
How is the decision made that surgery is needed?
The surgeon will examine your child and will order tests to determine what is causing his/her abdominal pain. Some tests look for stones in the gallbladder or test how the gallbladder functions. The results of these tests will help decide if surgery is necessary.
When will my child be able to go home?
If the procedure is performed laparoscopically, your child will be discharged 1 day after surgery. If the procedure is done in an "open" fashion, you child's stay will likely be 2-3 days.
After a laparoscopic surgery, your child may have shoulder pain caused by gas in the abdomen. For relief, walk and swing your arms. You may also try lying on your side and bringing your knees up to your chest. Or, lie on your back and put pillows under your buttocks so that your buttocks are higher than your chest. Stay in one of these positions for 5-15 minutes; the pain should go away.
Tips for the Day of Surgery - What to Bring
- Bring your child’s favorite comfort things; blankets, stuffed animal, small toys etc.
- A variety of favorite toys, music tapes, or books to encourage quiet time.
- Snacks or money to buy yourself a meal.
It is best to make arrangements for siblings to stay at home on the day of surgery in order for you to participate fully in your child’s care.
When will my child be able to go home?
Your child should be able to go home 1-2 days after surgery unless otherwise specified by the doctor.
What care is needed at home after surgery?
* Care of the incision:
There will be a small incision at the umbilicus. Reinforced sticky bandages (Steristrips) may be applied. You may see bruising and swelling at the incisional site for 3-5 days after surgery.
Your child can take a shower 24 hours after surgery and can bathe, swim (in pool or a lake) 1 week after surgery. The doctors will tell you if there are any more restrictions to showering/bathing/swimming.
Your child should be out of bed and walking around after surgery. Your child can participate in activities when they are comfortable doing so. If something causes pain, they should not do this activity and wait a few days before trying again. The doctor will tell you if there are any other restrictions you should follow.
After a general anesthetic, your child may have nausea and/or not have a good appetite for 24-36 hours. This is normal. You should first give your child clear liquids such as ice chips, popsicles, 7-Up® or Jell-O®. If these fluids stay down and your child would like to try something else, offer food such as soda crackers, graham crackers, and toast. These foods are easy to digest. Most children are able to eat normal food without problems the day after surgery. Give frequent small amounts of clear liquids (juice, soda, and sugar water). Your child can eat any foods that are appropriate for age.
Most children will need some pain medicine for a few days after coming home. Often acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) is enough to control the pain and soreness.
If your child wears diapers, fold them down and away from the incision. Change the diapers often. Disposable diapers may keep the area dryer. If the incision becomes soiled with urine or stool, gently sponge with soap and plain tap water.
Constipation is common after surgery. Anesthesia and pain medicine can contribute to constipation. Give your child plenty of clear liquids after surgery. Call the office if your child goes longer than 48 hours without a bowel movement.
When to Call the Doctor
- Whites of your child's eyes turn yellow
- Skin develops a yellow color
- Dark urine (the color of tea)
- Itchy skin
- Redness, warmth, drainage, pus-like drainage or excess bleeding, or excess swelling at incision site
- Rapid or excess bruising. Some bruising is normal.
- Temperature greater than 101°F, taken under the arm for 2 readings taken four hours apart
- Child is not drinking or is peeing very little
When do I have a follow up appointment?
A follow up appointment will be scheduled for 2-4 weeks after surgeon with the doctor or nurse practitioner.
Pediatric Specialty Clinic
( 608) 263-6420
After hours, holidays and weekends, call (608) 262-2122 and ask for the Pediatric Surgery Resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
This will give you the paging operator.