Oesophageal Patients Association
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A painful shoulder after surgery?

Hello, my question is has anybody suffered from a painful shoulder. My operation 11 years ago gave me two incisions the 1st one on my left hand side starts at the midline and follows my rib cage all the way round to my back 16 inches in length the 2nd incision was in my right shoulder blade about 12 inches long where the final connections were made, I don't know what this operation is called? Apart from the normal day-to-day things that happen to people like us it's left me with a painful shoulder which flares up from time to time the GP's can only offer me painkillers as they say it's a buildup of scar tissue it feels like it's putting pressure on a nerve in my shoulder and can give me pins and needles in my hand and sometimes quite severe pain.

It would be interesting to know if this is a common procedure for surgery or if anybody else suffers from a painful shoulder.

Post operative I had no further treatment other than regular checkups I decided to turn down the offer of chemotherapy after surgery I am now 56 years old working full-time and just enjoyed my 11th anniversary.


6 Replies

Dear Monty

Yes, painful shoulders after the surgery are a common complaint, most often because of it being pushed up into an abnormal position during the operation itself. Congratulations on reaching your 11th anniversary! But 11 years on is not the time still to be having this problem if you can possibly help it. It may well be that it is a mixture of scar tissue and nerves, but it would be worthwhile to press for a more thorough examination or consultation to see whether something can be done to rectify or improve the situation. I dare say that it might not be straightforward, but I am equally sure that somebody, somewhere would be able to give a proper assessment.

I would also think about a physiotherapist, just in case they might help.


Hi Alan,

Thank you for your reply, I'm going to see an osteopath on Tuesday to see whether she can help. will let you know how I get on.

Thank you. Monty


Hi Monty, I had a very painful shoulder after surgery and had it injected with cortizone, which didn't help, my doctor sent me for physio and it has certainly helped. My physio said it was a build up of scar tissure and she worked on breaking it down.

Ask your doctor to refer you for physio, it is worth giving it a go. Good luck

Edwina x


Firstly,Congrats on 11 years since op.Yes it seems a long time to still be having probs with shoulder although have heard from others that it can flare up for years down the line and I am given to understand the nerves have not joined back up correctly.So I would think as others have said probably needs having a look at as could be muscle prob,joint prob etc and could have nothing to do with the op.



Hi Griff,

this happens with my shoulder it can be good for months and then flares up, but 11 years on a small price to pay everything else is working fine, going to try an osteopath.

Thank you for your help.



Not bad idea, let us know how u get on and heres hoping I get to 11 years !


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