The gall bladder is a small organ in the belly. It is used to store bile from the liver. Bile is used to help digest food. Bile moves in and out of the gall bladder through tubes. If these tubes get blocked, your child can have pain. This pain may get better if the gall bladder is taken out. This is called Cholecystectomy.

cholecystectomy illustration


If your child’s procedure is done “open,” this means your child’s gall bladder was taken out by making one larger incision, or cut, on the belly.

If your child’s procedure done “laparoscopically,” this means your child’s gall bladder was taken out by making a few small cuts. Then a camera was used to see side the belly.

Your child’s incision or incisions are closed with Dermabond or steristrips.

Dermabond is special glue used to close a cut. This glue will come off on its own. Do not scrub or pick at the glue. Your child may take a bath or shower 24 hours after the surgery. After the shower, gently pat the glue dry with a towel.  Your child may swim when the glue has fallen off.

Steri-strips are special pieces of tape used to close an incision. These strips will fall off after 10-14 days from the surgery. Do not pick or pull at the steri-strips. Your child my take a bath or shower 24 hours after the surgery. Your child may swim after the steri-strips fall off.

Do not put any medicines or creams on your child’s incision. Clean the incision each day with soap and water.
Watch your child for signs of infection. Look at your child’s incision each day. Call your doctor if:

  • The incision has more or “flaming” redness
  • The incision is warmer than the rest of the skin
  • The incision has more drainage which is green, foul smelling, or pus-like
  • Your child has a fever of over 101 degrees F or chills
  • Your child has behavior changes, such as being more tired or fussy
  • Your child has color changes, such as being red or pale or gray
  • Your child has nausea or vomiting


Your child may return to a normal diet at home.


Infant/toddler: Your child may return to normal activity as comfortable. Continue to use your child’s car seat. Continue to hold your child as normal.

Your child may return to school. Your child may not do weight lifting, gymnastics, PE, or contact sports for 8 weeks if his or her procedure had one large incision. Your child may return to PE and regular activities in 2 weeks if your child had several small incisions.


Your child may have some pain after surgery. If the pain is not controlled well with medicines, please call us. 

  • Follow the directions given for the pain medicine. Do not give more than the directions say.
  • Give pain medicine at routine times. Pain is harder to stop after it has started.
  • If your child needed pain medicine during the day, he may need it at night too.
  • Some strong pain medicine has Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in it. If the strong pain medicine prescribed by your doctor has Acetaminophen (Tylenol), do not give more Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be found in other products like cold medicines. Call us if you have a question about these medicines.


Local doctor or Pediatric Surgery offices, 1-319-356-2229 then press 3, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After 5 p.m., on weekends, or holidays call the:
Hospital operator 1-319-356-1616 and ask for Pediatric Surgery Resident on call.
24 hours a day call Toll-Free 1-888-573-5437 and ask for Pediatric Surgery Resident on call.

You may get a survey in the next few weeks asking about your visit. Please fill out and return the survey. We will let our staff know when they have been helpful and/or use your feedback to make the care we give better.

Photo courtesy of CareNotes®: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Thomson Reuters, 2002-2012

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