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Gallbladder First, Sleeve Next

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Hi all!

Did anyone have their gallbladder removed prior to their weight loss surgery? Prior to considering weight loss surgery, I was doing Jenny Craig for a bit in 2020, but dropped it after about 6 months for a number of reasons. Prior to that, I never had any issues with my digestive tract. Over the last year, about once a month, I was getting what I found out were gallstone attacks. It got really bad the week of Labor Day and I went in for emergency surgery by the end of the week (Sept 10).

Also over the last year, I was researching options for weight loss surgery. My insurance does not cover any weight loss anything, but I found out that the options out there were actually affordable for me self-pay. Once my gallbladder came out (baby's first surgery), I knew it was time. I'm already having to change the way I eat- why not go all in? My surgeons from both sides agreed they could be done fairly close together.

I had virtually no real pain in recovery for the gallbladder removal and both surgeons have told me VSG will be a similar pain level, up a notch, for post-op recovery. Since my last surgery was pretty much forced upon me, I didn't have time to consider options or worry for weeks about surgery... I'm finding myself now post-consult with a surgery date in-hand (October 13th) and feeling pretty confident about getting the procedure itself.

I know gallbladder removal is pretty common post-op, but did anyone have it done pre-op? How did the pain compare to your WLS? How long were you between surgeries? What are some things that got easier or more difficult pairing the two removals?

I look forward to hearing about your experiences!

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I had my gallbladder removed about 10 months before getting sleeved. I gained about 38 lbs in those months and the weight gain didn’t seem to be slowing down so WLS was a must at this point. Comparing the two, I feel like I had less pain with the WLS. I actually asked my mom if she was sure they even did anything!

1. I didn’t need any painkillers after WLS, but I took them for about a week after gallbladder removal.
2. I’m typically a stomach sleeper and was also able to go back to sleeping on my stomach faster after the sleeve.
3. i only needed to sleep on a recliner for 2 days after WLS, but slept in a recliner for about 10 days after gallbladder removal.
4. Moving around was also easier for me after the sleeve, mainly because I felt like I couldn’t stand up straight after the gallbladder removal.
5. I was sleepier after the sleeve and generally had less energy the first week.
6. I had a bowel movement faster after WLS and going to the bathroom was easier in general.
7. TMI but I had sex sooner after WLS than I did after gallbladder removal.
8. Oh, my surgeon used my main gallbladder removal incision (the top one) so I only had 2 new tiny incisions for a total of 3 incisions for WLS. He felt like it was unnecessary for me to have more scars than I should so maybe that’s an individual thing that differs from surgeon to surgeon so I’d ask if that was possible. I only have the 3 WLS incisions visible and the gallbladder ones were so tiny they disappeared (you can only see them if you know where to look).

So all in all I’d say my recovery from the sleeve was easier than the gallbladder removal, but of course that’s just me. I’m sure other people have it the other way around. Either way, you can do it! For me, the hardest step was actually deciding and committing to the WLS. Don’t worry, you got this!! Please feel free to message me if you feel like you have more questions or if I missed anything.

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17 minutes ago, Shay27 said:

I had my gallbladder removed about 10 months before getting sleeved.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Hope mine goes similarly. My surgeon specializes in single-incision laproscopic surgery (belly button), so I'm kind of hoping he'll decide to do that- but will ask at the last pre-op appointment.

This makes me a bit hopeful. My recovery for gallbladder was fairly simple and I wasn't on meds very long to help control pain. Fingers crossed!

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I had my gallbladder out in 2015 after a terrible gallstone attack that sent me to Emergency. The gallbladder removal was honestly almost painless post-op. It was done laparoscopically by the same surgeon who did my WLS, and I was in hospital overnight. The discomfort was mild and the only time it peaked was when I was jostled - like when in a car going over a bump. I was given the all clear to travel interstate a couple of weeks after (as it was near Christmas), and the bumping from the plane landing hurt, but that was it.

It's an absolute breeze compared to my bypass, which has been very sore post op. The bypass left me feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, and five days out, I still feel like I've taken several hard punches to the gut. The incisions from the gallbladder removal were also much smaller! No more than a centimetre, versus over an inch with the bypass incisions.

I've had 3 surgeries, and in order of pain levels, they're:

1(most pain) - Bypass

2(still painful) - knee reconstruction ACL

3(barely any pain) - gallbladder removal.

EDIT: It's worth noting that I also had a hiatal hernia repair with my bypass, which has made my post-op pain greater!

Edited by Smanky

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I had my gallbladder out 6 months before my wls. Overall, it was a fairly easy surgery, but I found it more painful than my wls. I had much more gas pain with the gallbladder than wls, but I did have nausea and vomiting after my wls, which for me is worse than pain. As far as surgeries go, and I've had 7, I found my wls to be one of the least painful.
Since a large amount of weight loss can cause your gallbladder to act op, it's actually good to have it out before surgery. I'm glad I did. It was one less thing to worry about.

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