Everything You Need to Know About Your Child’s Liver and Gallbladder Surgery

If your child has a liver or gallbladder condition, it’s possible that their primary physician may recommend a surgical procedure to fix the issue.

While this is a stressful decision for any parent, Austin Pediatric Surgery is here to put your mind at ease. At our pediatric surgery center, our surgeons specialize in both pediatric liver surgery and pediatric gallbladder surgery.

“At our pediatric surgery center, our surgeons specialize in both pediatric liver surgery and pediatric gallbladder surgery.”

We understand that before your child undergoes any procedure, you’ll have several questions and concerns that arise. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about your child’s liver and gallbladder surgery—but if you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact the medical team at our office.

Common Pediatric Liver and Gallbladder Conditions

There are many different conditions that could require pediatric liver or gallbladder surgery.

The most common liver and gallbladder conditions we see in children are:

  • Liver tumors
  • Biliary atresia
  • Choledochal cysts
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstones)
  • Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  • Biliary dyskinesia (improperly functioning gallbladder)

Are There Risks to Surgery?

The liver is an important organ that your child needs in order to function and thrive. The gallbladder, though not a vital organ, can cause ongoing pain and if there’s a condition that’s left untreated.

The risks associated with your child’s surgery are dependent upon how invasive the procedure is. At Austin Pediatric Surgery, we focus on performing our procedures with techniques that are as minimally invasive as possible. Because of this, most of our surgeries are low-risk, although you should contact your surgeon immediately if you notice bleeding or infection around the surgical site or if your child develops a fever after surgery.

If your child is in need of an open operation, the recovery time will be longer and there may be more risks associated with surgery. However, we have some of the best pediatric surgeons in Austin on our team, and they will perform your child’s procedure as safely as possible and will let you know of any risks associated with the specific operation.

How Should I Prepare My Child for Surgery?

The best way to help your child prepare for surgery is to comfort them and answer all of their questions in a reassuring way. Let them know that the surgery is for the best and that it will help them feel better. Talk to them about all of the kind doctors and nurses that will be helping them.

The night before surgery, have your child pick out a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring with them. This small thing can provide a lot of comfort to your child during the pre-op and recovery period.

Your child’s pediatric surgeon may  also give you a list of instructions to help you prepare your child for the procedure. Make sure your child gets a bath or shower the night before or the morning of the surgery. Prior to the procedure, a nurse will clean and sanitize your child’s surgical site in the operating room, but bathing beforehand can also help reduce the risk of infection.

You will be told when your child should stop eating and drinking the night before the surgery. It is critical that your child follows these instructions, because the procedure may have to be rescheduled if they do not.

How Long Will Surgery Last?

The amount of time your child spends in the operating room will depend on the type of procedure our surgeons are performing.

With gallbladder surgery, you can expect the procedure to be completed within 1-2 hours. With liver surgery, the procedure can be longer, depending on the severity of your child’s condition and the complexity of the procedure needed in order to fix the condition.

Your child’s surgeon will let you know how long you should expect to be waiting. Once your child wakes from the anesthesia, you will be able to wait with them in the recovery room.

What Will Post-Op Recovery Be Like?

The amount of time it takes your child to recover from surgery will depend on your child’s specific condition and surgery.

With gallbladder surgery, your child will be able to return home in one or two days following the operation. With liver surgery, your child may need to recover in the hospital for a longer period of time, perhaps up to a week.

Your child’s surgeon will let you know how long you should expect your child to stay in inpatient recovery and how you can prepare for their outpatient recovery back at home.

Your Child Is in the Best Hands at Austin Pediatric Surgery

Liver or gallbladder surgery can be scary for both you and your child. Remember that our dedicated and compassionate team of medical professionals is here for you every step along the way. To talk to our doctors about any additional questions you may have,  or to inquire about scheduling your child’s procedure, contact Austin Pediatric Surgery today.