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msb18
@msb18

Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 11, 2018

Post cholesectomy (gallbladder removal) chronic back pain

Posted by @msb18, Dec 11, 2018

Hi – I had my gallbladder removed 17 years ago and have chronic, sharp back pain behind the port incision. That incision was in my upper left abdominal quadrant; the pain is felt in my back, directly behind the incision. It is thought that I have an adhesion in my upper left quadrant. Is it possible that nerves are trapped and that it causes referred pain in my back? The pain is nauseating and hasn’t improved. I have been on anti seizure medication and a pain killer that isn’t a percocet-type medication. I am curious if anyone else has persistent pain in their back following gallbladder surgery. If so, how is your pain treated.

REPLY

Hello @msb18, welcome to Connect. I would like to invite a few members who have also had their gallbladders removed to share their experiences post-op with pain: @kozlo52, @roisemaire, @paula1957, @sq2753sw, @johnetteg, and @bertbiz. I would also like to invite @painwarrior to this discussion to talk about their experience with adhesions following surgeries.

@msb18, if you are comfortable sharing, has your provider talked with you about next steps if they suspect adhesions?

Liked by msb18

hello all, I am now close to 3 months post Op and still having spells of upper abdominal pain similar to pre op pain.The last round ( 3 days ago) was a "lighter version" less painful, but still kept me in bed all day. I just want to get past this and live again! This is crazy!!

@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @msb18, welcome to Connect. I would like to invite a few members who have also had their gallbladders removed to share their experiences post-op with pain: @kozlo52, @roisemaire, @paula1957, @sq2753sw, @johnetteg, and @bertbiz. I would also like to invite @painwarrior to this discussion to talk about their experience with adhesions following surgeries.

@msb18, if you are comfortable sharing, has your provider talked with you about next steps if they suspect adhesions?

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We did discuss removing the adhesion but, the likelihood of new adhesions causes enough concern that we opted to treat the symptoms (chronic nerve pain at the port incision and in my back). I am frequently nauseated and get winded easily. The doctor believes that the adhesion may be against the stomach. My cholesectomy surgeon was contacted approximately 6 months after surgery to notify him that I developed intense pain under the location of one incision. He didn't answer and I subsequently discovered that he lost his malpractice insurance. A second surgeon was contacted and he diagnosed me with an incisionsal hernia. My GP asked me not to go into a second surgery as he felt that the degree of my pain was unlikely to be caused by a very small hernia. I wish I listened to my GP. The second surgeon went back through the initial port incision and lengthened it. He repaired a 10mm hernia in which fat was trapped. My GP read the notes and reiterated that the hernia couldn't have been the cause of my pain. Within months of the hernia repair, the pain became unbearable. I couldn't – and still can't – sleep on my back or abdomen. I wake nauseated every morning from the pain. I have seen specialists – I received lidocaine injections, nerve blocks, acupuncture, was prescribed 2 different anti seizure medications, anti depressants, etc to tackle the pain. Cymbalta worked the best but caused blood sugar turmoil. I am currently on Gabapentin and a non-narcotic pain medication. This combination is the one I can best tolerate but, the trade off is not having children (anti seizure medications can cause birth defects). Even with these medications, the pain is unending. I get violently nauseated if I don't eat small meals. I felt intense anger for many years that the second surgeon didn't recognize the pain as nerve pain and reopened the incision. The first surgeon killed a patient performing cholesectomy on him. He knicked an organ and realized too late what went wrong. So, my nonstop pain, not having children and living with nausea is better than the alternative experienced by the other patient.

Until statistics greatly improve showing complete resection of upper abdominal adhesion without adhesion recurrence, neither I nor my family would consent to surgery. My GP agrees with this decision. The devil we know…. My fear is – what if another adhesion forms and it causes worse pain and gastrointestinal symptoms?
@JustinMcClanahan

@sq2753sw

hello all, I am now close to 3 months post Op and still having spells of upper abdominal pain similar to pre op pain.The last round ( 3 days ago) was a "lighter version" less painful, but still kept me in bed all day. I just want to get past this and live again! This is crazy!!

Jump to this post

Are you having the pain you had prior to gallbladder surgery? Is there a trigger? I'm curious if you might have post cholesectomy syndrome. If you eat a 'gallbladder safe' diet – low fat/not greasy, do your symptoms improve?

Your upper left, is that next to your left arm/hand? My gallbladder surgery was on my right side, as in, I’m right-handed, same side. I, too have had continuous pain, though very tolerable 5 years out and on. Pain is lower rib to back. Surgery was laparoscopic done in 1996. Very bad stones.

@ckeys – My pain – while also in the former location of the gallbladder and straight through into my back – is predominantly directly to the left. It is at the site of the port incision (where the camera was inserted for the laparoscopic cholesectomy). It is that incision that was then lengthened the following year for the 10mm hernia repair.

@msb18

Are you having the pain you had prior to gallbladder surgery? Is there a trigger? I'm curious if you might have post cholesectomy syndrome. If you eat a 'gallbladder safe' diet – low fat/not greasy, do your symptoms improve?

Jump to this post

Hi, I have surgery almost 6 weeks ago. I am still sore where the incisions are. I had it done laparoscopic. I went to surgeon today for follow up and told him how nauseous I was and he said he never heard of that! Well as i am reading a lot of posts, I see it's not that uncommon. He told me to go to my doctor and schedule an endoscopy because pathology showed my gallbladder wasn't "that bad". But when I went to ER and had an ultrasound they told told me it had to be taken out that day! I am so upset..but after reading other people's experience feel like I am not alone. I have been looking up Gallbladder safe diets..maybe that will help. I am tired, and just not the same yet. My age is 54 years old, female if that that makes a difference. Any input and/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

@4lori4

Hi, I have surgery almost 6 weeks ago. I am still sore where the incisions are. I had it done laparoscopic. I went to surgeon today for follow up and told him how nauseous I was and he said he never heard of that! Well as i am reading a lot of posts, I see it's not that uncommon. He told me to go to my doctor and schedule an endoscopy because pathology showed my gallbladder wasn't "that bad". But when I went to ER and had an ultrasound they told told me it had to be taken out that day! I am so upset..but after reading other people's experience feel like I am not alone. I have been looking up Gallbladder safe diets..maybe that will help. I am tired, and just not the same yet. My age is 54 years old, female if that that makes a difference. Any input and/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Jump to this post

@4lori4 Hi there – try to eat foods that are safe for the gallbladder so, nothing greasy or fatty. Google post-cholesectomy syndrome. You may be experiencing it and it often improves over time. Was your gallbladder removed due to gallstones, due to infection or because it was failing? I don't understand what the doctor meant by saying it 'wasn't that bad.' Depending on the issue that caused the need for the cholesectomy, a visual observation of the organ wouldn't provide enough information to determine 'how bad' it was.
What helps me: small, non-greasy meals, eating more frequently so you're never completely empty, nibbling on Saltines or pretzel thins with surface salt, drinking hot black tea.
Keep track of your symptoms – when are they better, when are they worse? Maintain a food diary. To speed up the diagnosis process, document things like that.
You are not alone. The nausea is extremely common.

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