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.

After twice blockages gallstone remove in my common bileduct last 11/22/2018 &12/31/2018 i still have excruciating pain on my abdominal going to my lower back, GI doctor did endoscopy & colonoscopy & get a sample to test but they can not find where's the pain is coming from. I lost a lot of weights since 11/22/2018 and now, 40 lbs. I don't know where to go
Please help
Vanz

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Hi @gallbladder2014, I moved your message to the discussion where Danny had already posted part of your story and where you can connect with others with similar experiences of back pain after gallstone blockage. I can imagine how confusing and frustrating, not to mention painful it is to not find a reason for the pain. What has the GI doctor suggested as the next step?

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@marieryan

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 laproscopic gallbladder removal 24 years ago. Although I did not not experience pain post surgery, I developed severe GERD after the surgery, whch has not gone away. I've been on medication for all these years to reduce heartburn. I have always wondered how the surgery could have affected my lower esophageal sphincter and made it relax so often, causing multiple episodes of acid reflux every day.

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@cici10

I had laproscopic gallbladder removal 24 years ago. Although I did not not experience pain post surgery, I developed severe GERD after the surgery, whch has not gone away. I've been on medication for all these years to reduce heartburn. I have always wondered how the surgery could have affected my lower esophageal sphincter and made it relax so often, causing multiple episodes of acid reflux every day.

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@cici10 Have you been checked for a hiatal hernia?

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Ive been suffering for years as well. I started having horrible gallbladder attacks that would last 2-3 weeks at a time. It took years for doctors to listen to me. In 2017 I had my gallbladder removed because it was only functioning at 2%. After the surgery I had two bile leaks one at the pamcreatic duct and one at the liver. I had stents placed to heal the tears. I have been in pain since this has started it use to come in flares but now its constant 8-10 out of 10 pain. No relief and is getting worse. I also have been diagnosed with exorcrine pancreatic insufficiency. All my scans are normal and blood work normal but this pain isnt normal at all. I havent been able to work. I scare my children because Im crying and screaming out in pain. Im in and out of the hospital. I need a doctor who will listen. I can empathize. I hope you find whats going on because If you feel anyway that I do, I know how much you are suffering.

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I am currently experiencing the same issues. I had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago and the pain in my back ( behind the upper incision) and the pain when I turn or tilt to the right side are nearly unbearable. I try to stay away from pain pills but I’m almost in tears from the pain. It’s not the gassy pain you feel right after the surgery and it’s not a back ache type pain. It’s a sharp stabbing feeling that will take your breath away. Can anyone else help with this?

Liked by msb18

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@jelmo

I am currently experiencing the same issues. I had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago and the pain in my back ( behind the upper incision) and the pain when I turn or tilt to the right side are nearly unbearable. I try to stay away from pain pills but I’m almost in tears from the pain. It’s not the gassy pain you feel right after the surgery and it’s not a back ache type pain. It’s a sharp stabbing feeling that will take your breath away. Can anyone else help with this?

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I'm sorry you're going through this. Did the pain start right away after surgery? I would strongly suggest you speak with your GP first and then the surgeon. This pain needs to be documented. Ask about intercostal nerve injury. Be very specific about location of pain, what it's like (e.g. sharp, stabbing, dull, non-stop, throbbing, etc), if anything worsens or alleviates it. The physical exam is important too. Yes, there are ways to tackle nerve pain if this is what it is – some treatments involve acupuncture or anti seizure meds or other classes of meds. Try to wedge yourself with pillows to prevent you from rolling onto the painful locations when you try to sleep. I found that an air mattress helped a lot because it took pressure off of the painful spots so I could get sleep. I couldn't afford the expensive one so I bought a twin size aerobed. If you are a woman, switch to wireless bras; the bra wire tends to dig. Switching to wireless is helpful. Finally, you must document everthimg. I know you're tired, in pain and probably worried. But it's very important that you keep a diary. Use your phone calendar, get a notebook, anything. Document pain location, pain level, etc. This documentation could help a lot. I wish you well.

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Hi all. After 2 years of initial symptoms I had my Gallbladder removed over 4 weeks ago when finally it took a HIDA scan to determine I had chronic cholecystitis due to dysfunction. Recovery was slower than expected as I also have mild Crohn's disease. My bowel was initially affected but improved. My billiary pain seemed have subsided immediately as I went back to a normal diet a week after surgery. At about 3.5 weeks I started experiencing the same dull pain and balloon type pressure in the URQ into the back after meals. It's like I never had the surgery at all. The pain can be relieved by lying horizontally on my left side mainly. Sitting up straight or standing for any length of time brings the pain back. The pain and discomfort stops about 4 hours after a meal. I have a follow up with my surgeon in 2 weeks but he told me before the surgery there is a 10% chance there could be another issue. He referenced dysfunction of the Sphincter of Oddi as well. I am going to see what we says and provide an update. I hope everyone else finds some relief.

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@woodsiechris

Hi all. After 2 years of initial symptoms I had my Gallbladder removed over 4 weeks ago when finally it took a HIDA scan to determine I had chronic cholecystitis due to dysfunction. Recovery was slower than expected as I also have mild Crohn's disease. My bowel was initially affected but improved. My billiary pain seemed have subsided immediately as I went back to a normal diet a week after surgery. At about 3.5 weeks I started experiencing the same dull pain and balloon type pressure in the URQ into the back after meals. It's like I never had the surgery at all. The pain can be relieved by lying horizontally on my left side mainly. Sitting up straight or standing for any length of time brings the pain back. The pain and discomfort stops about 4 hours after a meal. I have a follow up with my surgeon in 2 weeks but he told me before the surgery there is a 10% chance there could be another issue. He referenced dysfunction of the Sphincter of Oddi as well. I am going to see what we says and provide an update. I hope everyone else finds some relief.

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Update on this: Got in to see my surgeon today and as suspected he believes the Sphincter of Oddi could be dysfunctional. I am being booked for a HIDA scan to diagnose that. In the meantime I have been diagnosed with Post-Cholesectomy Pain Syndrome. If it is the Sphincter, they will do an Endoscopic cut of the Sphincter muscle. I will update as this progresses.

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@woodsiechris

Update on this: Got in to see my surgeon today and as suspected he believes the Sphincter of Oddi could be dysfunctional. I am being booked for a HIDA scan to diagnose that. In the meantime I have been diagnosed with Post-Cholesectomy Pain Syndrome. If it is the Sphincter, they will do an Endoscopic cut of the Sphincter muscle. I will update as this progresses.

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Hello @woodsiechris

I so appreciate both of your updates. It sounds as if you are making some progress with a diagnosis. As I was not familiar with a HIDA scan, I found this explanation on Mayo's website. I thought that other Members in this discussion might also find it interesting as a way to diagnose post-gallbladder surgery problems. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hida-scan/about/pac-20384701

I hope that the endoscopic procedure is helpful. Has this been scheduled yet?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @woodsiechris

I so appreciate both of your updates. It sounds as if you are making some progress with a diagnosis. As I was not familiar with a HIDA scan, I found this explanation on Mayo's website. I thought that other Members in this discussion might also find it interesting as a way to diagnose post-gallbladder surgery problems. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hida-scan/about/pac-20384701

I hope that the endoscopic procedure is helpful. Has this been scheduled yet?

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Thanks for the link! I am awaiting the date for my HIDA scan. I won't get the Endo procedure unless the HIDA scan results diagnoses the Sphincter of Oddi as dysfunctional. I will keep people posted of my progress. For the record it was that HIDA scan that diagnosed me with cholesectitis and prompted the removal last month.

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Hello All:

As we are all aware, Mayo Connect cannot diagnose medical problems, however, in another discussion group on chronic pain, a Member posted about the possible diagnosis of Sphincter of Oddi Syndrome, which is a pain syndrome that can follow gallbladder surgery. Here is some information about this disorder, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14516-sphincter-of-oddi-dysfunction.

Often this is not easily diagnosed, even by GI specialists and tends to be overlooked by doctors. I would encourage you to read about this disorder on the link above and also the discussions on Connect, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/i-have-sphincter-of-oddi-dysfuncfion-it-causes-severe-upper-abdominal-pain/?orderby=DESC#chv4-comment-stream-header.

One Member, in the chronic pain group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-cholesectomy-gallbladder-removal-chronic-back-pain/?pg=2#comment-291537, mentioned that he would be having a HIDA scan in order to diagnose this. I found this explanation on Mayo's website about a HIDA scan and I thought that other Members in this discussion might also find it interesting as a way to diagnose post-gallbladder surgery problems. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hida-scan/about/pac-20384701.

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Your gallbladder was on your right side. I'd ask your doctor what it could be.

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Quick update. I have been off work over 6 weeks post surgery trying to get into a pain management routine to return to work next week. My GP prescribed me 10 mg Dicyclomine an anti spasmic medication taken 30 mins before a meal. So far it has helped with some of the pain and discomfort. Eating smaller portions as I did before the surgery is helping as well. My wait for a HIDA scan of the Sphincter of Oddi continues. Meanwhile my liver and pancreas blood tests are normal so that is a relief. Still hoping this is just a matter of slow healing and not dysfunction of that Sphincter. My GP tells me the PCS in many cases will subside in time if the Sphincter function is normal. I sure hope so.

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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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Hi all, I'm new to the site & not sure how to post my question.
I'm almost 6 weeks post op for keyhole gallbladder removal. I'm still having lower abdominal pain either side of my belly button. All incisions have healed well & doctor has checked for post op hernia. He says I'm probably still recovering. But I'm so worried as I thought I would be recovered well before now. My pain tends to come on with movement & walking. If I rest I don't feel it. I do have the odd upper pain too were the gallbladder was, but generally again it's only if I do alot of movement. My main worry is my lower abdominal pain. Can anyone advise if this is normal at 6 weeks. Thank you

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