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Cholecystectomy pain is pain that results from surgery to remove the gallbladder. This pain might be the result of injuries to the common bile duct or anomalous bile duct. The development of postcholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) can also cause pain. There various medical and surgical treatments that are used to manage this pain, depending on the type and severity of the pain. Most cholecystectomy pain can be managed by using pain medication and avoiding certain foods, but some pain will require surgery.
A cholecystectomy is major surgery in which the gallbladder is taken out of the abdomen. The gallbladder is removed because of the formation of gallstones or inflammation. Although the gallbladder can be removed in less than an hour, the skill of the surgeon must be meticulous to prevent any internal damage. This surgery is common, and it is rare for lasting cholecystectomy pain or complications to occur.
One cause of cholecystectomy pain after the surgery might be a damaged common bile duct. This duct runs from the liver to the gallbladder and must be cut to remove the organ. If the duct is damaged and begins leaking, then extreme pain might occur. Minor damage can be managed by standard pain management, such as using pain medication and avoiding foods that aggravate the duct. Extreme cholecystectomy pain and damage will require corrective surgery.
Pain caused by a damaged anomalous bile duct occurs if the duct was not properly cauterized during surgery. About 1 percent of all gallbladder surgery will result in damage to this duct. Repairing the duct will depend on the extent of the damage. Any infections that were caused by the damaged duct must first be treated. Surgery is then required to remove the damaged area and connect a healthy part of the duct to the intestines, which stops any bile leaks.
Postcholecystectomy syndrome occurs when too much bile flows through the upper or lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Persistent abdominal pain is a symptom of this syndrome, and as much as 15 percent of all cholecystectomy patients suffer from PCS. Sedatives, bulking agents and antispasmodics are used to treat pain in the lower GI tract. Histamine blockers, antacids and proton pump inhibitors are used for pain in the upper GI tract. In some cases, surgery is used to correct the problem and eliminate pain.
Not everyone who has had a cholecystectomy suffers from pain. Patients who develop PCS might not experience pain. It can take time to properly diagnose the cause of cholecystectomy pain, and over-the-counter pain medication typically is used while a complete diagnosis is made.
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