Anyone gone for a second opinion before gallbladder surgery?

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Hi

I'm due to have my gallbladder removed soon and I know all the pros and cons from researching on here and other sites, plus I worked in health and research a few years. If it was just that I had a classic case of gallbladder attacks, I would not be questioning at all.

As my scans showed other conditions which can cause exactly the same symptoms as those thought to be gallbladder AND my 'gallbladder' symptoms are not typical (left sided, all the time & not sudden attacks etc etc) I'm just wondering whether I should have got a second opinion?

The surgeon did not really give me the defintive answers I needed and the other conditions are being investigated at later dates. However, I don't want to lose my place on the surgery list as I'm really unwell and would struggle to wait months more if I started over and the Gb is at fault. 

Anyone here had a private 2nd opinion? I know doctors cannot predict how well patients will do after surgery, I just need to know that nothing is being misdiagnosed as this happened to me before a previous surgery.

 

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    PS sorry, forget to mention I do have gallstones and have had them 10 years, just started getting abdo pain, bloating, nausea, gas, unable to eat properly etc a few months back.

     

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    • Posted

      I really wish I would have gone for a second opinion. Yes, I did have gallstones, and I know they could have been worse down the road, but I still have a lot of my original complaints, after having removal. Now I have to go to several different specialists and see what else is causing these issues, which were probably the culprit to begin with. Hope you find the answer to your complaints, make sure you get answers to ALL your questions before proceeding. 
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  • Posted

    If you can afford the £200 for a private 2 nd opinion it could be worth it. Although...as you do know you have gall stones and they are giving you problems don't give up your place in the queu..you will get an appointment within Days for private consultation. My pain was more central than right sided. I'm ok I suppose but still have a bloated 9 months pregnant stomach causing discomfort but no longer any sharp pain. Good luck Cynthia . 
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    • Posted

      Thanks, Christine. I may just do that for reassurance. I have saved a lot by not going out much since this all started esp petrol and random shopping so that would cover it. A lot rests on faith in your doctor, not that you disrespect them, but sometimes they seem not that interested in what happens to you. Nowadays you don't always get a follow up after an op. When I was a nurse in the olden (!) days, the surgeons seemed to take pride in the work and seeing someone all healed and looking better was rewarding, that seems to have gone. Of course the gain now is better techniques but we still look for that human touch as well. I think bloating seems to be almost universal with these things, if we could invent a cure we would make a fortune! Take care x

       

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  • Posted

    To add to the confusion, I’ve just discovered some online info about the Rectus Abdominis muscle trigger points, which can cause all kinds of trouble and mimic a number of medical conditions with the pain they cause.  Unless one’s had definite confirmation from various tests that they have a particular condition, this could be yet another cause of their symptoms, which is apparently often overlooked by doctors.

    I’ve also had gallstones for some time.  I have bloating and gas from mid afternoon onwards and tight squeezing feeling under ribs, mostly right to centre, usually once a day now, so I doubt the above applies to me, especially as I have a raised amylase level.  

    I would also advise staying on the list while you consider other options.  Good luck Cynthia!

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    • Posted

      Yes, thanks, I'm staying on the list while looking for another opinion, especially as the junior doctors are having industrial action walkouts so surgery will likely be delayed a while anyway. I've had the tightness under the ribs too, I was conviced it was gallstones until they found the hiatal hernia etc and realised my symptoms match others for this as well! I never had rt side pain though which sowed some seeds of doubt, but then I do have gallstones!! Are you having any treatment?

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Cynthia, I’m actually waiting to see the consultant next Tuesday to find out what he advises.  The bloating/discomfort lasts anything from half up to two hours at present with no nausea so have been putting up with it.  I’ve been finding that drawing my knees up to my chin tightly or, if I’m able, going down on hands and knees for a few minutes, usually stops it.

      The situation is complicated by my also having IBS at present due to anxiety over my husband’s health so half the time I don’t know which conditions my symptoms apply to, especially as they don’t seem to be food related.  I’m hoping the consultant will know.  I’d rather not have the GB removed if possible.

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  • Posted

    No because I had pretty classic symptoms and do have multiple stones confirmed by ultrasound and MRI scans. I just want the bloody thing out now. 6 months waiting on a less than 3% fat diet.
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  • Posted

    Hi In anyone ever visits this older thread, I thought I should update it. I did in fact go for a second opinion privately with an upper GI consultant who also works for NHS. He did think all tests had been done that were needed, bar possibly following up the food sticking in oesophagus/ motility related issues that could be done later on. He was as certain as can be (knowing that never risk free or sure result) that the Gb is the focus of the GI probs and removal is the best course of action, based on tests and history.

    So, that is reassuring, if not exactly good news as I still have to have surgery and at my current NHS hospital, I've had several cancelled dates over the months and am still waiting! This is quite disconcerting, if I had known this I could have gone to a different hospital at the start or even perhaps blown all savings and a few years holiday cash and gone private and got it all over with. As it is I'm limbo, still quite unwell and no further forward to getting life back on track.

    Best wishes to all out there undergoing gallbladder troubles, hope all goes well for you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Cynthia,  How've you been feeling?  I just wanted to ask you about the 'second opinion' that you went for, if you don't mind.  Did you have to go and see your GP and ask him/her to refer to a private consultant or did you just find one yourself and make an appointment? I'm coming round to thinking that i should get a second opinion from a 'private consultant'.  I don't really see any point in asking to see the NHS surgeon who i saw origninally because he's just going to say the same thing as last time.  His opinion was... you've got gallstones so we'll take your gallbladder out 'in the hope that it alleviates the symptoms... if not, we'll just look for something else'.... doesn't really fill you with confidence!!
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    • Posted

      Hi Carol, Yes, this was pretty much what was said to me and why I sought the 2nd opinion. I found a surgeon reasonably near who is involved in research around gallbladders so thought that would ensure he would at least be interested. I booked through the secretary by phone at the end of the week and offered appt early the next week. They asked for a referral from the GP if possible but would still see you if not. I did phone my GP sugery, spoke to the medical secretary there and she asked the Dr who agreed to write a referral, although I did not receive the letter until after the appt anyway and no-one asked for it at the private hospital in the end. There was no waiting around. I took copies of all my tests/letters etc that I had in a ring binder so the consultant could quickly assess what had been said and done. I had previously asked my GP surgery for a copy of my notes, for which they did make a small charge, as I was considering the second opinion and also wanted the info for myself. The GP did then send the referral letter including similar info.

      After seeing the consultant, I received a 2 page letter reporting everything we spoke about and repeating his opinion again in writing, plus the different options - go private, go with my exisitng NHS provider, transfer to the NHS hospital he covers (but I would have to join the waiting list again there - less chance of cancellations occurring as more staff etc) and it is further from home. Or could transfer there after op at my local hospital if I want him to do further investigations should there be any symptoms still bothering me from my other conditions. As I am only weeks from the surgery locally, I may run with that unless any further delays in which case, I may have to rethink. Then will see if any need for other investigations.

      I do not regret going as the consultant was confident that it was gallstones causing the main problems. Hope this helps. x

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your quick (and helpful)  reply Cynthia - you're a star! I've got myself in a really stressed state (with a date for surgery only two weeks away).  You do sound like you have had a lot of tests done whereas all I've ever had done is an ultrasound.  I actually think i would feel better if I'd have had say a CT scan done or a HIDA scan to at least show how my gallbladder was functioning.  With my GP it's a case of the ultrasound shows gallstones... end of! I would also feel better, strange though it may sound, if i was 'climbing the walls' in pain rather than almost constant low level pain.  I worry that so many people seem to end up with pain after the surgery.  There is a very high chance that i will have to have open surgery so i will have a long recovery time afterwards and I've already had surgery and many serious complications in the past after something that was misdiagnosed by a doctor. Hence the reason why I've decided that i really need to get a second opinion.  Thanks again and i hope you're doing as well as could be. x
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    • Posted

      You are more than welcome, if any good can come out of the processes we go through, it might help someone else get there quicker!

      I started out with just the US scan last April, though I had one 10 yrs back that saw gallstones. Things settled a bit until Nov and as they flared up, I was referred to the surgeons, which would have been February but as I ended up with constant left side pain and a few bad turns leading to A& E, not eating and weight loss, they fast tracked me to an upper gastro consultant December where he ordered CT scan of pancreas and gastroscopy to rule out various other conditions. Otherwise I may have just had the US scan, as you say, once they see stones they put 2 and 2 together and make 5. That was why I was worried it was not Gb. I never really had the massive shorter attacks really, though my Gb is contracted with scars it seems, so it must have been going on, but they say it can refer to other areas etc. Yes, many on these groups report bad after effects and that does concern me. But I cannot see much choice if the Gb is already in bad shape, causing bother I would not want to have emergency surgery at a later date as I'm already in my 60s.

      I am very scared though, I really don't like the thought of it. Sorry you might have a risk of conversion, I also wonder about things like that, the only upside of open surgery, if you can call it is that usually they can see better and less chance to injure ducts etc.

      Anyway, I think it is worth getting a 2nd opinion, but of course it is expense and I did hestitate a while before, but our wellbeing is worth it. Did you have blood tests? Keep posted how you get on!

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  • Posted

    i had blood tests done, literally on 'day one'... which they said were fine, ie. liver levels - normal and no inflamation.  My liver function was tested again, quite recently, when i had my pre-op and was ok. I understand now why you have had several tests done and can also relate to what you said about the concern regarding 'age'.  I'm in my 50's and also have the realisation that the older you get, the more riskier it becomes as well as the risk of you having more health concerns by then. I will keep you posted. Take care.X
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  • Posted

    Quick update if anyone is following this thread: I was informed today that my op date is cancelled for the 5th time!!!! No new date. I could change hospital- there are pros and cons about that but I'm really not sure whether I have much faith in the current one actually doing this op now. Mulling it over and cannot quite believe why this is all happening, I know the NHS has problems but 5 times ??

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