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Had gall bladder removed. Having pain in the area of surgery. Difficulty to sit on chair or walk. Help?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5614 Questions
I had my gallbladder removed 37 years ago. I have a scar that is 4 1/2 inches wide. It begins about 3 inches above my navel and then extends down toward my right side. It has never bothered me until four days ago I could not get out of bed without the help of my husband because it was to painful to sit up. I still have a hard time getting up from a chair. It is very painful to touch the area. I went to see a doctor 2 days a ago who said he did not know what was the problem. He sent me to the emergency room where I had blood tests and a CT scan. The doctor in the emergency room said all tests came out normal. He said he thought I might have a stomach ulcer and sent me
home with a prescription for that problem. I don't feel that is my problem. The pain runs the length of the scar and causes me extreme pain to get up or down or if I press on that area. Is it possible that I lifted something to heavy
that caused the old scar area to be affected? Can an old scar cause a person problems 37 years later. I don't know what kind of doctor I should see. Can you help me?
Posted Sat, 29 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 1 hour later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX

Thank you for your query.

Yes, there are few possible complications of your previous surgical procedure even 37 years later after it. First one is postoperative hernia which can be caused by heavy lifting or intensive coughing. Usually bulge is seen after cough but if there is lot of adipose tissue it doesn't have to be seen. Second, it is possible that there is subcutaneous infection or Schloffer tumor. In this case there would be some redness,swelling and pain around the scar.

Third possibility is nerve injury or degeneration in area of surgery.

You should do ultrasound of abdominal wall and needle aspiration if fluid or tumor is found.

Also , there is possibility that your pain is caused by some intra-abdominal pathology,not abdominal wall pathology. This is what your doctors consider to be. Stomach ulcer is most common cause of pain but it should be verified by endoscopy and pain would be aggravated by meal. Also there can be adhesions under the scar which may compress bowel or surrounding structures and breast radiation have some effects on bowel and abdominal wall nerves so it can be problem too.

CT is very sensitive,but these things wouldn't be seen sometimes.

I suggest to wait for more 4-7 days and see is there progression. if yes,you should consider ultrasound or scar excision if all intra-abdominal causes(ulcer,colitis hepatitis and liver pathology) are ruled out.

Wish you good health. If you have any questions I ll be glad to help.

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