Stomach Incision soreness: Does anyone... - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association
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Stomach Incision soreness

Does anyone have post-soreness in the stomach area (what used to be stomach area) like right on the incision?

The area where your belly button is located.

Also, has anyone had their incision scar horizontal verses vertical?

I had squamous cell carcinoma with chemo and radiation prior to surgery

22 Replies

Hi my scar is a V shape, I did get some discomfort about a year later which was due to adhesions and the scar tightening up, I got some exercises from a physio and when they removed my gall bladder they tided up inside and it's been fine since. I didn't have any radiotherapy. Just Chemo before nd after


Thanks for your input liz_crisp. I did have aggressive treatment for both radiation and chemo as I think my oncologist was hoping that we would get it done that way without surgery - not. So, it is a possibility I suppose that the radiation has something to do with it? I am not sure. I have been in physical therapy off and on in the past, almost nine, years of survival. I just know that I have always felt better when I am in PT. Unfortunately, I have never been an avid exerciser.

I would love to know what they did to "tidy up inside" when they removed your gall bladder?

If you don't mind me asking you... was there any complication or different way from the norm operation of taking out your gallbladder since you had surgery for EC?


I had it taken out as they found a large gallstone that at the time wasn’t causing me any problems but as I had this pain they couldn’t define, we decided that it was better to remove the gall bladder so I didn’t have an emergency situation and a surgeon who didn’t understand my new plumbing. Take the opportunity to see if they could find the cause of pain. That’s when they found the adhesions and eased them off. I have been much better since. I think they were at the side of the scar and where the feeding tube was. The exercises I did with the PT were to stretch the scar tissue for both scars and strengthen my core muscles again. I am now eight years post treatment on the 1st of March 😄


Thanks. Good info. As far as finding the cause of pain - I have been walking around with a big question mark on my forehead and doctors just shake their heads and don't know why. My CT's come back NED and that is usually what they get their info. from.

They have given me pain pills which I know is not a permanent fix.

Something you did say had caused me some concern for anything in the future that may go wrong (God forbid) but hypothetically, let's say one of "our kind" get in an auto accident and take a nasty hit to our middle section that they have to do emergency surgery for..... now, how would this work with some surgeon and our new plumbing? I almost think that we need to wear some kind of bracelet like diabetics do to give them a heads up, ya know?

I would think that that would be a concern stretching as far as EC survivors exist?

I wish someone had addressed my scars early on - as they seemed to with you - to stretch the scar tissue and strengthen the core muscles again. My scar is not flat - it has a hump right in the middle of it like a small narrow balloon with water in it that if you hit it with a needle it would pop!

Congrats on the coming 8 years, oh my - March is only 2 days away!!! Happy Anniversary early!!


Thank you. I do have a medic bracelet that asks them not to lie me flat and states the fact I have had an Ivor Lewis op, Good luck finding a solution xx


On further surgery.....

Nine years ago, after considerable reluctance/delay in my original IL hospital to even investigate, I was diagnosed with what was probably a secondary metastasis in the right lung.

With considerable difficulty a surgeon in another centre was found who was willing to risk 'going in there again'. He utilized the same technique IE a right thoracotomy

( across the back and around under the armpit) together with removal of two ribs; then, as he put it 'fighting through the jungle' excision of the lung.

So it can be done and like I said nine years and counting.........


My scar is also V shaped .I do get quite a bit of discomfort on the left side mainly .

Standing/walking for long periods always causes aches which are eased a bit if I press and support the area.

It concerns me a little ,mainly because it puts me off exercising .


Thanks for your input violetqueen. I sometimes have like a stabbing feeling right where the scar is... s c a r y. I am like - what did they leave in there... lol.


I think the first thing is to check whether there is any leakage coming from the scar; and then whether there is any infection. Getting it checked by a nurse would be sensible.

Some discomfort afterwards is not unusual, but it will all depend on how long ago the surgery was. Try a cream like Sudacrem to see if that soothes it, assuming that the discomfort is external rather than internal.


Thanks for your input but I am an 8 year (almost 9 year) survivor, so this advice would probably be for someone soon after the procedure. Thank you anyway. :)


Yes, I get discomfort near my vertical scar over what was my stomach. I've been told I have several small hernias on and close to the scar, and I'm now waiting for a hernia repair.


Thank you for your reply. Yes, a hernia has been brought to my attention - briefly and by 2 different doctors. My PCP says that yes, that is probably a hernia and if something isn't done about it and it - how did he put it - explodes?? can't remember the exact word he used - but, he did say that that would NOT be good. My oncologist, on the other hand, states that I should just leave it alone because going in and having yet more surgery might not be the way to go.

Seems it has always been like that for me - too many doctors pulling too many DIFFERENT directions.

How is it that they found these hernias? Through a test - such as a CT scan?

But please do keep me posted to what happens with the repair if you would patchworker.

Thanks and good luck with that.


My hernias were found by my GP. She asked me to lie down, and then lift both feet off the bed, which caused my tummy muscles to tighten. She then examined me and could feel the small splits in the muscles, with intestine poking through the holes. She said it only becomes a problem if the intestine gets trapped in the hole and can't slide out again. If that happens it can cut off the blood supply and needs an emergency op. but it doesn't happen often.

Was the word your Doctor used not explodes but strangulates? I think if it gets stuck it's called a strangulated hernia.

I don't have a date yet for my surgery, and with the hospitals being so busy I imagine it won't be for months, I'll tell you when it happens.

I think of all the things that could be causing our pain, a hernia is the least worrying. It's easy to put right with a small op. We're lucky that's all it is!

Good luck.


Patchworker I am guessing but I suspect that your hernia(s) is Spigelian, where a portion of your small/large intestine protrudes through a split in the overlying stomach muscles.

That is quite different from an Hiatus Hernia (HH) where a portion of the top of the stomach rises up through an enlargement in the penetration of the oesophagus through the Diaphragm. It is the HH which leads to cancer at the GE junction since it brings about failure of the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter, thus allowing reflux.


Yes, you're quite right, mine is not an HH, which, as you say, is quite different.

But which sort is it that Lightsinthecity has?


Sorry, I was wrong .......I hadn't picked up that your hernia was associated with the #1 scar of your GO op, hence it is incisional and not spigelian.

This type can be associated with weight and exercise issues. Small hernias can be more concerning than large as the tendency for strangulation is greater.

It sounds as if lightsinthecity might have the same.

I hope you have researched the issue of mesh or no mesh.


Can you tell me about mesh or no mesh? Or give me a link to learn more? Thanks.


I have discomfort to the right of the centre line just below the bottom rib. Which means it is either the Pylorus ( where the Pyloroplasty was performed) or the Bile Duct (my Gallbladder was removed on the similar pretext of liz's tidying up). It's too tender even to touch but since it has been the same since my op 26 years ago I no longer worry. Trapped wind is another possibility.

There are several variants of the gastro-oesophagectomy procedure with different incisions in different positions. The choice is up to the surgeon and depends on the size and location of the tumour, patient characteristics, fashion and where he was trained, etc, etc.Your scar is more typical of Squamous as distinct from Adeno.

The Ivor Lewis is the most common format and is accepted as the gold standard since it gives the greatest field access for the surgeon, particularly in regards to the harvesting of potentially implicated lymph nodes. But, of course it involves the most collateral damage, longer on the operating table, more time in hospital.

There are continuous efforts to refine the operation as the mortality rate is still lamentably high, as are post op complications and lasting side effects. Smallish trials of different methods have not so far yielded meaningful improvements.


Thank you for your reply. Yes, you are right - I had squamous cell carcinoma and it was located high up in my esophagus. (lots of people on this board, including yourself, say oesophagus - the o preceding esophagus - may I ask why? Is it a British thing?)

My scar is also tender to touch - you may have to push in a little but then OUCH!! That just doesn't seem right after almost 9 years - but, hey if it has happened to you for all that time. No, I take that back - like your username - it is a wonder you are here from this ghastly disease after 26 years - so you would think that they would have improved A LOT (which they have) with the sensitivity after the initial healing process.

Yes, the Ivor Lewis was done with me. Unfortunately, I did not do my homework as well as I normally would have (to freaked out about the cancer) and I did not know that there was a noninvasive procedure out there - neither my oncologist or my surgeon made me aware of it either... hmmm. The MIE (minimally invasive esophagectomy). Of course, they didn't have it 26 years ago - I don't think they even had it 15 years ago - maybe about 12 years? I have read about it and have heard positive things about it but I don't think the medical board is in with a vote as of yet.

In other words, I believe that the Ivor Lewis is still the most common format and is accepted as the gold standard like you said.

Good info - thanks.


The word oesophagus is the Greek word οἰσοφάγος oisophagos, meaning "gullet".

The British, who would like to think they invented everything, for centuries followed the Greek/Roman way of doing things. Somewhat later the Americans came along and said that's silly it should be spelt as it sounds.

I only just scraped into medical school because I had good Latin - a strict requirement in those far off days.


Okay - got it. Thanks. I thought I was on the wrong site for esophageal cancer for awhile there - I am thinking... hmmm Oesophageal.. what have we here... lol.


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