Weight Loss After Gallbladder Surgery

gallbladder surgerySurgery can be scary. Gallbladder surgery is no exception. If a patient is suffering from gallstones, however, the surgery is worth it. The surgery may cause weight fluctuations. Patients may be wondering about weight loss after gallbladder surgery. Losing weight after gallbladder surgery is possible. First, patients should understand why gallbladder surgery can lead to weight gain. To do that, patients need to know the role the gallbladder plays in digestion.

Gallbladder surgery is technically called cholecystectomy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the gallbladder stores bile that helps the liver digest food.  When the gallbladder is removed, the body still makes bile. Instead of storing it in the gallbladder, bile goes directly into the digestive system.

Why Weight Loss After Gallbladder Surgery is Different for Everyone

Even though gallbladder surgery changes your digestive system, the body will adjust. Short term weight loss from the surgery can happen. Right after surgery, patients watch their diet closely. However, after recovery, patients who have their gallbladder removed can gain weight. These are a few reasons why.


When the body adjusts to changes caused by gallbladder removal, it impacts how the digestive system processes energy.  In some cases, this leads to weight gain. The body may not be able to digest fat and sugar efficiently. The energy from food is then stored as fat in the patient’s body, causing weight gain.


If the body experiences inflammation, the hormone that regulates weight does not work as well.  Inflammation may not be caused by gallbladder surgery directly. However, many people who have the surgery also experience inflammation.

Diet Changes

People who suffer from gallstones usually avoid fatty foods. Once the body adjusts to the removal of the gallbladder, patients can go back to a more diverse diet.  For some, that leads to weight gain.

How to Successfully Lose Weight After Gallbladder Surgery

weight loss after gallbladder surgery

Weight loss after gallbladder surgery isn’t too different from losing weight before surgery.  A healthy diet and exercise should be all it takes. Here are some post-gallbladder surgery diet tips, according to Healthline:

  • Eat a bland diet right after surgery. The body will still produce bile after the gallbladder is removed. Long term, a patient’s diet doesn’t need to change. In the short term, however, patients need to avoid fatty or greasy foods. Eventually, patients can go back to a normal diet if they want.
  • Physical activity is important but take it slow. Any weight loss strategy should include physical activity. Post-surgery patients need to be careful with exercise. Don’t start too soon, or overdo it with strenuous exercise. Patients should ask their doctors about how and when to get active after surgery. For people who have never exercised before, getting active may be overwhelming. That’s why starting slow is important. Even a quick walk or 15 minutes of aerobic activity is a good way to get active. Then increase intensity and time from there.
  • Go green. Vegetables are a great addition to your diet. Make sure to eat greens, fruits, and whole grains. Watch the portions. Even healthy foods can cause weight gain if eaten in excess. Patients can ask their care team for information on healthy eating before leaving the hospital.

Listen to Your Doctor

The most important thing to do post-surgery is to listen to your doctor. Everyone is different.  These tips may not be right for you. Make sure to ask your doctor and medical staff about what to eat and how and when to exercise. Follow their instructions carefully. You’ll probably get discharge paperwork with instructions to look over. If you have any questions after surgery or if something doesn’t feel right, call your doctor right away.

Get Started on Your Gallbladder Surgery Weight Loss Journey

losing weight after gallbladder surgery

Even though surgery can be scary, there’s no reason to be worried about having gallbladder surgery. The procedure is common, low risk, and usually doesn’t require a large incision. Most gallbladder surgeries are performed laparoscopically. That means the surgeon inserts a small camera and tools into the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. This type of surgery is usually easier to recover from, and better for patients in general.

It’s very possible to lose weight after gallbladder surgery. A few small changes to your diet and activity level should be all it takes. Without your gallbladder, you’ll no longer face the painful symptoms of gallstones. It’s the perfect time to start a new life, pain-free and healthy.

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