British Liver Trust

Worsening Pain Upper Right Quadrant After Choleycystectomy

Just wondering about some symptoms after my cholecystectomy which I had at the end of October. I had an open surgery (seven hours) due to the gangrene, adhesions and collapsed common bile duct. Over the weeks since I have been gradually getting better but still disturbed by pain in the right upper quadrant at night. I have Oxycodone (opiate) medication to help. However, over the last few days the pain has started to get worse again and not just be at night but troubling during the daytime too. I have made an appointment with my GP (couldn’t get one until 17th January) but am wondering if this is normal. Might this indicate a problem with the liver or is it just a normal part of recovery from such a big surgery? I am not sure if the pain is actually in the liver or a bit further down. Any sharing of experience would be helpful. Thanks.

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My sister has had all sorts of problems since she had her gall bladder removed. Had a few complications straight after, but since then has had fairly regular abdominal pain and symptoms similar to IBD that she didn't have before. Including pain under the ribs in that right upper quadrant.

Unfortunately, she hasn't yet got to the cause of the problem or whether it was related to the surgery or not, but it is a bit of a coincidence. I wouldn't say it was normal, no. Its certainly worth getting it investigated, but do be prepared for it being a long wait. Its probably another process of elimination type of diagnosis. Hopefully though, they'll be able to get to the bottom of your problem a bit quicker.

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Hi Kristian and thanks for your response. It is reassuring that when I see my GP in a couple of weeks' time that this is not something trivial but something that needs exploring. I'll do that so thanks again.

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A couple of things that may be worth considering are the possibility of further gall stones forming or a stricture in the bile ducts.

Apparently, gall stones can reoccur in some people who have had their gall bladder removed. Its about 1 in 7 from what i have just read. The stricture, or narrowing, could have been caused by the gall stones themselves either directly if one has got stuck or by creating scar tissue. It may even have been scarring that has occurred as a result of the surgery causing the stricture.

It could of course be something completely different, but they are just looking into that for my sister, so will see what happens as a result.

May be worth suggesting to your GP though as i don't think these things are all that common and may not be the first conclusion reached. It may at least prompt the further investigation. Not sure if an ultrasound will pick it up, although it may pick up another stone. However, an MRCP may pick up signs of a stricture as there may be some dilation of the duct above where it narrows.

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Yes I have read about this too Kristian. However, thanks for the detailed explanation. I will discuss it with my GP when I see her in a couple of weeks' time.

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