Post-cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal surgery

Posted by msb18 @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.

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

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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!!

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@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

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@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!!

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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?

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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.

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@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.

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@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?

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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

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@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

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@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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@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?

Jump to this post

Hello I had my gallbladder removed 5 weeks ago..I know little of the mechanism of this surgery but I know I bled alot during the op n the surgeon had to wait for a while before closing me up.i needed an extra stitch on the smallest port n after the op I had a big bleed but I don't know which site it came from it was external..the surgeon had gone home by the time I was having this bleed.He has been difficult to speak to and has blamed my bleeding on 2 aspirin I took 4 days before surgery since surgery I have had all over back back pain and appalling GERD.its so bad I barely eat I take 40 mg pantoperzole twice daily n gaviscon throughout the day..I'm afraid to drink water as it hurts going down I have constant stomach pain n a shooting pain going up the left side of my back adjacent to the shoulder blade I'm wondering if my oesophagus n stomach are badly inflammed.it started after op but I've had issues with my stomach acid due to over use of painkillers in the past.this is very severe and I only managed to eat a banana yesterday with some sips of water.services are verstretched here in UK and I have had to do a stool sample results don't come through for 3 weeks to check for h pylori before they will consider doing an endoscopy I'm at my wit's end with this terrible GERD n worried about Barratts oesophagus I am on max dose of all meds thanks for reading this

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I had my gallbladder removed almost a year ago, I wish I would have never had the surgery. I have chronic pain on my right side that goes to my back, and have numerous digestive issues, including bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea. The pain I experienced from the gall stones was nothing compared to this

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@lag911

I had my gallbladder removed almost a year ago, I wish I would have never had the surgery. I have chronic pain on my right side that goes to my back, and have numerous digestive issues, including bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea. The pain I experienced from the gall stones was nothing compared to this

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@lag911 It's possible that you have an adhesion as a result of surgery. It can press on nerves. I'm taking Gabapentin and have since 2003. The pain is nauseating and is felt in my back, directly behind the port incision and behind the former location of my gallbladder. Lyrica is also used to control nerve pain as are certain SSRIs or SNRIs. If you haven't been treated for nerve damage pain, please seek out a doctor who understands that abdominal surgery can result in adhesions, nerve damage and adhesions compressing nerves. I'm incredibly grateful to have a GP who recognized my symptoms. I did have a CT scan, an MRI of my upper abdomen and an ultrasound to rule out anything being left behind from surgery or anything else. I saw the head of the gastroenterology department of a teaching hospital who ordered additional lab work and using that, the results of my scans and his examination of me to confirm that he believes I experience nerve damage pain. The notes to my GP from the specialist also reference him being able to feel something under the port incision which he was certain was an adhesion. Once this was done, my GP started me on Gabapentin (Neurontin) and slowly increased my dose to 1800mg. I was able to commute 2 hours per day and work a demanding job while on Gabapentin – it doesn't make me loopy, it doesn't slow my thinking nor does it make me feel high. It isn't a narcotic. The doctors felt that nerve damage would respond better to an anti seizure medication. I know you're suffering now but it can get better. As for my digestive system – I have irritable bowel. There are times it's worse and times it's much better. I do have Imodium for days that are really bad and that I have to be somewhere. I try to not eat things like seeds or nuts or anything difficult to digest.

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In 2004; I started having abdominal pain. After 3 trips to the hospital for morphine, they me to GI doctor. They did a gall bladder test and even though my gall bladder didn’t show non-functioning, they took it out. Two months later, I started going through the same thing. Five months later and every test in the GI spectrum and 25 pounds lighter, nothing worked. I went off gluten and all processed foods. My internist thought it was food related. I took a Medical leave from my job because 4 percosets a day did nothing but make me loopy. They also put me on antidepressants. Every time a test would come back showing I was perfect, I would get more depressed.

My stomach would go into convulsions when I hadn’t eaten for a while and it took weeks to be able to eat. I feel like someone stabbed and punched me in the abdomin continuosly.

I managed for years when my internist finally told me there was nothing more she could do. She sent me to a pain specialist. The pain doctor did a radio-oblation on my splanich nerve which “thank God” gave me relief and l gained back the weight in 3 years and I finally have a life. He told me it would last 6 months to 2 years. This week, I’m going in for another one because the pain, stomach cramping and no eating is back.

Three days ago, I saw an article about MALS and am checking it out.

I ended up retiring early because of this.

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@lasirvent

In 2004; I started having abdominal pain. After 3 trips to the hospital for morphine, they me to GI doctor. They did a gall bladder test and even though my gall bladder didn’t show non-functioning, they took it out. Two months later, I started going through the same thing. Five months later and every test in the GI spectrum and 25 pounds lighter, nothing worked. I went off gluten and all processed foods. My internist thought it was food related. I took a Medical leave from my job because 4 percosets a day did nothing but make me loopy. They also put me on antidepressants. Every time a test would come back showing I was perfect, I would get more depressed.

My stomach would go into convulsions when I hadn’t eaten for a while and it took weeks to be able to eat. I feel like someone stabbed and punched me in the abdomin continuosly.

I managed for years when my internist finally told me there was nothing more she could do. She sent me to a pain specialist. The pain doctor did a radio-oblation on my splanich nerve which “thank God” gave me relief and l gained back the weight in 3 years and I finally have a life. He told me it would last 6 months to 2 years. This week, I’m going in for another one because the pain, stomach cramping and no eating is back.

Three days ago, I saw an article about MALS and am checking it out.

I ended up retiring early because of this.

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@lasirvent I think your doctor oblating the splanchnic nerves was very smart. These nerves are involved with organs. Nerves do regenerate so you could have relief until they regenerate. I'm going to speak to my doctor about resection of intercostal nerves for the pain I feel in the nerves that are the bottom two sets in my back.

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Hi my wife had gallbladder removed 4 years ago (2014) by small incession on her lower right bellybutton and she was discharged after 4 days but after 2 days at home pain still there and it getting worse that her sweat is big as corn, and she has difficulty breathing already so we have to go back to emergency, the next day and they found out that there is a leak in bileduck as small as niddle and they put a stent to stop the leak and put a tube and bag to suck the leak and she stay in hospital for 3 weeks. After a couple of days recovering she had endoscopy to remove the stent but the the stent is wasn't there anymore. And that's a couple's of endoscopy and procedures but the good news is no more pain and she doesn't have any maintenance at all. After 3 years she's having once in a while abdominal pain but not like when she have gallbladder remove. On 22 of November 2018 after 4 years on her gallbladder removal pain is back and in the level of 9 so i rushed her to Emergency they do xray, ct scan, sonogram and finally did Mri and they saw a blockages on her bile duck but they can't do on their hospital so my wife ambulance to another hospital to remove a blockage a gallstone on her bileduck after 2 day's she was discharged with minimal pain but while recovering at home she has shooting pain on her abdomen until on December 31 2018 her pain is on level 9 again so we rush again to Emergency and there is again a blockages on her bileduck that's another endoscopy to remove a blockages a gallstone on her bileduck. Wow, imagine we spend Thanksgiving and New Years in Emergency Room. But that's is Okay to me i mean Us, the it's not okay is her pain is not going away until now she can't eat, sleep, very irritating and she lost a lot of her weight maybe 50 lbs in just a year and a half. Her primary Dr. Refer her to GI Dr. which they do an endoscopy ( again )and colonoscopy but the all results are negative. I don't know what's causing her pain
Actually 2 day's ago we rush to ER again for abdominal pain and shortness of breath again xray and blood test is normal and i ask the Dr. What's the causes of her pain? Please and i'm hoping there is an answer, I'm doing also researching online one thing i encounter is maybe possible blockages on her cystic ducts and that's really hard to see .
Danny

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Hi @gallbladder2014 and welcome to Connect. You may have noticed I moved your post to this existing discussion on pain post gallbladder removal in order for you to see what others have said. Click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to see your post.

That must be so heartbreaking to watch your wife be in so much pain. I wanted to introduce you to fellow Connect members @msb18 @ckeys and @lasirvent as they all have had their gallbladder removed and may be able to offer you support while you help your wife.

Back to your wife @gallbladder14, is she on any medication for the pain?

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