Dull Ache After Gallbladder Surgery

This post is a response by a doctor to a question one of our community members asked.

Kristy Asks:

After gallbladder surgery I have just started getting a dull ache in the left lower back, worse when standing its sore like kidney or lung and worse when breathing

Dr Nitesh’s reply:

Gallbladder surgery is a relatively safe surgery but still every surgery has its own complications. Lower back ache immediately in the post-operative period could be due to bad posture during surgery. Complications due to cholecystectomy can occur due temporary weakness of the digestive system. Weakness of digestive system can also cause loss of appetite but you should not decrease your diet and continue to eat ‘post gallbladder removal diet’ as directed by your doctor. Eating right foods can help overcome this problem and make your digestive system strong.

Another cause of lower left back pain post chloecystectomy could be due to bad posture. People tend to bend their back and lean their shoulders. This can lead to back pain. Hence, improving your posture can relieve your symptoms.

Lower back pain post gallbladder surgery can also be caused by carbon dioxide in your abdomen. Carbon dioxide is introduced in your abdomen during surgery to aid in the procedure. Residual carbon dioxide can lead to lower back pain. If the pain is due to remaining carbon dioxide, it usually resolves in 1-2 weeks.

Another cause of left lower back pain could be bile leak that occur as a complication of gallbladder removal surgery. Leakage of bile in the abdomen leads to inflammation and swelling on inside of abdomen and leads to pain. This pain can worsen with breathing as inhalation of deep breath leads to stretch on the inflamed abdominal parts. Leakage of bile following gall bladder removal is rare complication and back pain following gall bladder removal is usually due to gastro-intestinal weakness and bad posture.

Except for bile leak, Back pain due to other complications of gallbladder surgery usually resolves with corrective measures in 2-3 weeks. You should avoid eating food with high percentage of fat like French fries, pizza, high fat dairy, high fat meats etc. High fibre diet needs to be gradually added in your meals.

You should consult your doctor if your back pain lasts longer than 2-3 weeks despite correction of posture and adherence to post gallbladder surgery diet. Consultation with your doctor is also warranted if you experience persistent nausea and vomiting, persistent or worsening abdominal pain or jaundice.

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