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diving after Gallbladder surgery ?

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by Scuba Barbie, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. Scuba Barbie

    Scuba Barbie Barracuda

    I am having my gallbladder laproscopically removed Friday. My non-diving doctor has stated no dietary or exercise regime change is necessary afterwards.

    How soon after surgery can one dive safely? I have already paid for a trip to Divi Flamingo in Bonaire on December 14th and really, really want to make the trip.

    Any opinions?
  2. BillP

    BillP Senior Member

    Howdy Scuba Barbie:

    DAN has a couple of paragraphs on diving after abdominal surgery at:


    Scubadoc has some more info at:


    In general, divers can return to diving when the skin wounds have healed adequately, the muscle incisions are strong enough to take the strain of diving, the patient has recovered sufficiently otherwise to allow vigorous activity, the original condition they had the surgery for has improved enough/resolved so it doesn't interfere with diving, there are no significant complications that would interfere with diving, and the patient's doctor says it's OK.

    For laparoscopic gallbladder surgery I give my patients 3 general restrictions:

    1. No lifting over 10lbs. for 1 week or over 50lbs. for 6 weeks after the surgery- or straining the equivalent amount. Some doctors don't restrict lifting/straining at all after laparoscopic surgery. It's hard to get a hernia in a small laparoscopic incision, but it is possible- hence my restrictions.

    2. No doing anything that's inherently dangerous. For example you wouldn't drive (or dive) while you were taking narcotic medication or were otherwise impaired (by pain, etc.)

    3. If you say, "Doc, it hurts when I go like this" I'm gonna say, "Don't go like that". For example if someone tells me it's sore when they wear tight pants a week after their surgery, I tell them to wear loose pants. If it hurts to sleep on your stomach the night after surgery, I say sleep on your back. Incisions hurt, and patients just have to make some minor accommodations until they heal.

    If someone has healed well from their surgery, they can arrange not to lift or strain, and they're not impaired by medication or soreness I let them dive when they want to but advise waiting 6 weeks just in case. Never can tell when you might have to strain real hard when diving, can you?



    The above information is intended for discussion purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for any individual.
  3. Scuba Barbie

    Scuba Barbie Barracuda

    I sincerely appreciate the time you took to give me such a complete and insightful response. Thank you very much for your kindness.
  4. KimInNB

    KimInNB Divemaster

    Although this is nearly a decade later, I'm assuming your information is still correct BillP!!!

    I'm 2wks past surgery date and hoping to get a dive in by the end of May, so it seems like I should be able to handle it. Have emailed off to DAN to see if they have an official stance on laparoscopic gall bladder surgery, just in case.

    Thanks for your information - much appreciated!!
  5. domas

    domas Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
    Diving after the gall bladder surgery depends on how long the wound takes to heal up - I would suggest a minimum of 6 weeks to allow the stitches to heal up. I wish you best of luck and good diving.
  6. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member


    BillP last signed onto the board on August 14, 2008. His last post was August 4, 2008.

    But, yes, his info in this thread still is accurate.



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