Continued pain after gallbladder removal

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About a year ago I underwent a laproscopic cholecsytectomy after several months of sporadic acute pain and sickness after eating. After discovering I had an extremely low ejection fraction my surgeon gave me the option to have my gallbladder removed thinking that was causing the pain, so I did. A couple months after the surgery I began experiencing similar pain as before, but it wasn't quite as frequent or severe. I also am still experiencing trouble with digestion, which I am blaming on the missing gallbladder. However, in the past couple months the pain has become more frequent and sometimes very severe and sharp. The sharp pains come from the right upper quadrant just like before. I've done a lot of research and have noticed other people having similar issues, but never sharing any solution. I have researched some about the sphincter of oddi dysfunction and am continuing to look into that. I saw my surgeon the other week and we scheduled a CT to make sure there were no stones, and it came back clear. Next step is to see a GI physician, but I am wondering if anyone else has had similar issues after gallbladder removal or has ever been diagnosed with sphincter of oddi dysfunction. Any help or advice is appreciated! 

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  • Posted

    Would sludge (fine stones resembling sand) show up on a CT scan? I know ultrasound has difficulty picking this up.
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  • Posted

    Hi Laura, I'm the same as you I had my gallbladder removed due to a low EF but the surgeon did say to me that he didn't think that all my pain was due to the gallbladder. My consultant at the time also mentioned sphincter of oddi dysfunction as well as the surgeon. The surgeon did suggest to me to get my gp to refer me to the pain clinic as this would also help.

    After surgery my pain didn't disappear but has actually got worse, this was in March this year so in May I decided to have a private appointment. My doctor didn't think I have sphincter of oddi dysfunction but actually nerve entrapment. Its called anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome and is very overlooked my doctors. Through the pain clinic they immediately found the areas where the nerve gets trapped. Its called Carnetts sign. I'm in alot of pain on the right hand side underneath the ribs going around to my back and up my spine just as it was with my gallbladder. 

    I've got a procedure on Wednesday this week where they put a nerve block into the nerve sites so fingers crossed this works. 

    I've also got another consultant who is going to send me for an mri of my spine as I know if you've had any accident in the past or surgery it can cause this condition.

    I also had a stomach emptying test as my digestion wasn't great and I was having worse pain but that has come back as normal but I do think when you eat there's pressure on the nerves so causing the pain.

    Suggest to your phsician about nerve entrapment, it is on the internet and there is some indepth reports also but not as much as other conditions.

    Let me know how you get on. Take care.

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    • Posted

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that your surgery and recovery are going well! I will definitely keep this is mind and mention it when I meet with my GI physician next. 
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  • Posted

    Hello Laura,

    ​    I cannot even add another word to your issue due to I have the exact same problem exactly to your wording.

    ​Surgery was last August and I did research of oddi dysfunction no stones

    ​if you find out please let me know. Sometimes the pain is worse when I had the gallbladder.

    ​And for those  of you reading this post do not be alarmed some people have had no problems at all and the surgery was not that bad trust me I say that this was my first ever of being under and scared is an understatement.

    ​Hope this gets better soon fo the both of us.


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    • Posted

      I'm sorry to hear that Deborah. I agree that sometimes the pain is worse now than before and I wonder if I would've been better off leaving my gallbladder in. I plan on mentioning both sphincter of oddi dysfunction and the nerve issue that Katherine mentioned above when I go to meet with a GI physician. 

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  • Posted

    For anyone still curious:

    My GI physician suggested (about three weeks ago) that the pain and diarrhea could be resulting from irritation from the bile "dripping" from my liver. Since there is no longer a gallbladder to store it when unused, the bile is continuously flowing. So, I was prescribed some medicine called Cholestyramine powder. Im supposed to mix it into water twice a day and it'll essentially help bind everything together and keep the bile from causing irritation and as a result stopping the sharp pains I feel. 

    Now, I've been taking this medicine (almost) as directed and so far so good! I say almost because I tend to forget in the evenings to take it a second time. It is also not a very pleasant tasting medication as it forms a "slightly textured" drink, but I've gotten used to gulping it down quickly. However, despite the nasty texture I would gladly continue drinking this because, holy cow, I feel so much better! The diarrhea is taken care of as long as I remember to take this medicine and same with the sharp pains! Only downside is some days I feel constipated because of what the medicine does, but as long as you combine fiber with your diet or fiberone then everything balances out. I have a follow up scheduled with my phsycian in another week, but right now my only concern is will I have to take this medicine for the rest of my life...

    Hopefully this helps some of you!

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