Neurology Community
45.1k Members
Avatar universal

Intercostal nerve damage during laprascopic gallbladder surgery?

I had my gallbladder removed almost 9 wks ago.  I have a condition that I found on the web "Pain Clinic" that matches my symtoms exactly--the 5th, 6th or 7th intercostal nerves which radiate from the back around the chest wall to the front.  It has gotten worse.  Numbness, skin that feels like a 3rd degree sunburn, shooting pains, feels like a major side stitch under my ribs--my breasts are even sore.  This is from my breasts to my waist in the front and from my shoulder blades to almost my waist in the back.  I am scheduled for an EMC test in August--meanwhile my Neurologist increased my Gabapentin to 2700 mg/day.  Her nurse said if I have Neuropathy, there is no cure.  The surgeon, whom I saw Thurs, said there is NO WAY it was caused by the surgery--that there are no major nerves in the area of the largest incision below my breasts.  My RN daughter says this is quite a coincidence that this started happening after the surgery.  I hate feeling like this!

This discussion is related to POSSIBLE NERVE DAMAGE.
7 Responses
923105 tn?1341831249
It takes a long time to recoveor from G/B surgery.  You have to be so careful with your diet.  I took me 3 mths to get it sorted.  Low fat etc., it was hard:/
Avatar universal
After I had my gallbladder out, I  got gastroparesis ( delayed stomach emptying) from damage to the vagus nerve during surgery.  Took me years and many tests to find out what was wrong with me.  Of course the
surgeon didn't want to know about my symptoms and was so unfriendly that I never returned with my complaints which is what he wanted.  This is not what you have but I'm saying it's possible to get damaged nerves during laproscopic surgery.
I am so glad to hear that is what caused my gastroparesis also. I was ok for a few weeks after surgery while still on pain killers and soft diet. Now it just seems to be getting worse. I have even lost 30 pounds, and it has changed nothing. My surgeon just doubled my Ne,Jim and told me to lose weight as well as another doctor I saw that did my stomach emptying test. After I months I finally saw a GI doctor who diagnosed me right away. I just wish there was something to fix or cure this issue.
Avatar universal
              I have almost identical issues as you and have been battling this for almost a year.  Don't believe what any local docs are saying.  Good chance you have intercostal nerve damage from the trocar sites from your gall surgery. Stop what you are doing right away, go to internet and google Dr. Lee Dellon of Baltimore.  Peruse his website (Dellon Institute for Peripheral Nerve Surgery), email him w/ your issues and go see him asap.  He has a surgical procedure which may eliminate or diminish your pain.  You will not be disappointed that you at least speak with him.
Avatar universal
Hi Bev50,
I have the exact same symptoms as you. I had gallbladder surgery via key hole surgery 2.5 months ago.
I am in horrendous pain and spend all of my days laying on my back trying to get the most comfortable position.
My surgeon, completely did not want to know about my symptoms and try to say it was 'all in my head'. I am currently trying to find a surgeon who can fix this, however i am in australia and am having no luck.
if you have found some one or something that helps please let me know.
I have contacted the dellon.com as the person above suggested, they do seem to be able to help me, but i don't think i could survive the plane flight in this pain. Plus the costs involved. please get intouch with me.
Avatar universal
Hi there. There is a possible intercostals damage associated with trochar insertion if it was a laparoscopic surgery or due to incision and retractors if it was an open conventional surgery.  Recovery from this neuropathy is possible only if the damage was reversible like neuropraxia. Consult a pain physician who is a trained anesthesiologist to evaluate you and give you treatment options to alleviate the pain. Hope this helps. Take care.
Avatar universal
Hi Bev,
I posted back in December. I still have not found a cure for my nerve damage. there are sub-costal nerves that lie along the rib cage near the top incision site so do not believe what the surgeon has told you. My nerve has either been cut or damage. they do not know. they will not operate in fear it will get worse. since i last posted i have seen a pain specialist who injected this top port site area with a steroid. this has given a lot of relief but i can not perform any duties still or lift any heavy items as it exaberates the pain tremedously. I still have been unable to return to work. it has now been  5 months from surgery with no signs of improvement. Take away the inj and pain killers the pain is just as severe as the day after surgery. I have since been told a nerve pulse stimulator may help but i would rather less invasive surgery if possible. if any one has found a cure for this nerve damage from the top port site please please please post a comment here asap. please. thank you.
Avatar universal
My sister had this surgery done over 20 years ago, was literally one of the first of 11 to have done this way.  She has cried in pain for all this time as the original doctor never even came back...No doctor ever agreed this could be the problem until most recent.  She is on Gaba but NO RELIEF what so ever.  Breaks my heart as the pain can be so bad and she is a beautician who stands all day, never misses a day and on top she has Lupus with a certain type of migraine that causes her to throw up all day.  I pray for her all the time and I am praying the information given above will help her.  Anyone suffering get help now and Do Not listen when doctors say its not from this surgery.  Even her husband had a doctor say he may need his gallbladder removed but the procedure is not perfected.  Imagine all this time and people are still having nerves cut from this.  God bless you all, get medication asap to at least start recovery as it can take years for nerve damage to repair, if its possible at all...
Have an Answer?
Top Neurology Answerers
620923 tn?1452919248
Allentown, PA
5265383 tn?1483811956
1756321 tn?1547098925
Queensland, Australia
1780921 tn?1499305393
Queen Creek, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease