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Exploratory surgery for stomach pain....

on 3/8/10 10:04 pm
I posted this same post on the RNY board, so I apologize if you've read it before!  But I wanted to post it here in hopes of receiving more responses than the other board.

Long story short, I've been having stomach pain since Valentine's day weekend, was hospitalized for 3 days due to it.  Have underwent a CT scan, ultrasound and 2 HIDA scans only to find a hiatal hernia.  I have no symptoms at all from the hernia so I don't really think that's my problem.  During this time my surgeon was out of town for 2 weeks so that has delayed my treatment.  He received the results from the last HIDA scan today and his nurse called to tell me that it was normal (again) and that he is recommending exploratory surgery (ugh).  After much discussion with the hubby, and total trust in my surgeon, I have decided to move forward with the surgery.  I mean, this pain has not eased up one bit since it's onset.  I have to find out what is wrong with me.  I can't keep living on pain killers!!

Not that I want something to be wrong with me, but I'm afraid that they will open me up and not find anything.  I will feel like a total fool.  I haven't been able to talk too much with my surgeon due to his busy schedule since his return of his vacation.  But I'm wondering if due to my numerous (7) abdominal surgeries if I could have something as simple as adhesion's causing the pain. 

Oh yeah, the pain is on the upper right side, kind of under the rib cage (in the gallbladder area), it's sometimes worse after eating, but sometimes it radiates in the area around my belly button and my lower stomach. 

First let me thank all of you that hung around and read my mini-story!  But what I want to know is if anyone else has had a similar experience and would you mind sharing it with me?  His nurse said if they found nothing it would be an outpatient procedure, but obviously I would have to stay overnight if they found something.  
Mary C.
on 3/10/10 8:04 am - Canada
Here I am again - following you over to another board  :) - anyway - PLEASE don't think about being afraid that they will find nothing wrong with you. A good frined of mine recently had shoulder surgery and all she could think of beforehand was what if they don't find anything - stressed herself out totally. IF you are having pain - there IS a reason. About adhesions - BIG cause of abdominal pain and discomfort in my experience - looking after patients I mean. 7 abdominal surguries is a significant number - and adhesions could well have happened in there. Take care sweetie!

on 3/10/10 4:03 pm
Thank you so much Mary...for following me to the other board also!!!  You are always so kind.  I know the pain is very real and I know my surgeon feels the same way.  But I still feel that I would be embarassed if nothing was found.  Not that I want anything bad wrong with me, but I want to know what is going on!  
Kim T.
on 3/17/10 10:54 am - Mesquite, TX
RNY on 10/23/09 with

I agree... It sounds like it could be a hernia... Especially if they already saw one.  I had a hernia, and they couldn't see it until explatory surgery.  I had my surgery reversed do to other complications.  The surgeon that did my reversal has done more than anyone in the area.  He said the main reason for doing reversals is unexplained abdominal pain.  I tell you this, not to say you are going to have to have it reversed... That is RARE.... I tell you this to let you know that you have nothing to be embarassed about if they find nothing.  It is a real symptom, sometimes it just can't be explained.  MOST of the time, they see something during explatory surgery.  It could be scar tissue or adhesions from previous surgeries... that is always a risk with surgery.

-Kim T

Janet R.
on 3/10/10 5:30 pm - Peoria, IL
Your pains sounds exactly like the pain I had with an internal hernia. Hope you are getting surgery soon. I had one that I had repaired with an exploratory lap. Then, only six days later, I had another that progressed to a complete small bowel
obstruction. And, like you, I was worried they would not find anything! The pain came and went for me initially, until I had the bowel obstruction. Then, it was constant for about 15hrs before they did surgery to repair the bowel obstruction. I ended up with wound and internal infections, had to be hospitalized again on IV antibiotics and have the wound opened and then at home was packing my wound twice a day. I had constant nausea for about 3-4 wks, and missed 11 weeks of work.
on 3/18/10 10:41 pm - Suffern, NY
I had severe abdominal pain for months.  It was in several areas of my abdomen and had a terrible burning throughout - felt like my stomach was being eaten away.  I had every test in the book - really thought I had an ulcer but I didn't.  Finally after seeing my surgeon after about 4 months (was seeing my Gastro doc and Nurse practitioner at surgeons office), he said I needed exploratory surgery. That was the best thing I ever could have done.  I went in 2 weeks later and he found I had severe adhesions in 4 areas - 2 from the RNY and 2 from previous abdominal surgeries.  These adhesions were so bad they caused my intestines to kink up and I had a 1 inch hole in my intestines which had to be sewed up.  If the surgery hadn't been done when it was, I could have ended up with a full fledged bowel obstruction and hernia.  He also did something very different since we suspected an ulcer in the blind pouch. He tacted my blind pouch up and marked it so that at a future time, I can have a GTube put in through with a radiologist and not surgery and then a scope can be done through it to check for ulcers.

Within days, my pain was completely gone. I felt the burning was gone immediately when I woke up.  I was so glad I had the surgery.


on 3/19/10 2:34 am - Phoenix, AZ
I can really sympathize with you -- I hope you are doing better / any updates? This is my post from the Complications main forum.

This past couple weeks have been HELL for me...It started with MAJOR pain in my stomache and it was sore to touch - I would tear up. I know the importance of going to the doctor and I thank GOD I have insurance - good insurance to cover the ever so rising medical costs. I ended up going to the ER last week - all they did was some blood work - came back all normal and said I "might" have a viral stomache infection. I followed up with my doctor due to four days of pain, constipation and weight loss (-8lbs). My PCP said it was my diet and told me to take stool softners and Phillips MOM. The pain got so sever, that when I ate - I was crying afterwards and then it would disapate 30-60 minutes after a pain med was taken. I was then sent for a CT scan - Normal. WOW! So then I saw a TV ad for Dr. John Alexander here in Dallas, TX who takes Gastric Bypass patients for revisions. After speaking to him - we scheduled a endoscopy next Saturday 03.27th. He is 90% sure due to my "flobe" banding w/the gastric bypass 15-20% of patients have dillticulume - which causes the small intestine to streech and will lead to a revision and removal of the banding. More disheartning news - My 1st Gastric Bypass Doctor - Dr. Steven C. Simon out of Phoenix, AZ when on medical leave in November '09 and never came back to his practice. Now, feeling abandonded and concerned that if I need to have a bowl movement - I must take MOM. Plus, all my diet is now soft foods like bannanas, yogurt, yogurt, yogurt, bread and soups - with a pain med before I eat for fear of the pain coming back and the nausea from time to time. My new WLS - Dr. Alexander - states the other 10% could be a hernia or ulcer - but the endoscopy will determine the cause.

Does anyone have any suggests or advise to share?

Thank you,

on 3/19/10 7:51 pm - Suffern, NY
I am doing great.  My exploratory surgery corrected all my problems and they never came back.  I am now 17months out and have had no pain since May of 09 when I had the Exploratory surgery and everything was corrected.

I am sorry you are going through all this.  I cant really say much because I have never heard of a Flobe band, so I don't know what it is or what the complications are.  I do know that adhesions and hernias are very common, and cant be diagnosed without exploratory surgery.

I wish you luck.


on 3/20/10 3:08 pm, edited 3/20/10 6:43 pm - Phenix City , AL
I have had very similar issues...four separate episodes and the final one landed me in the emergency room.  Severe pain in my abdomen around my gall bladder, naval and radiated through my back.  When I went to the ER they did a CT and couldn't really find anything...I think the PA was stuck on the diagnosis of kidney stones so she didn't pay attention to much else.  They gave me Delaudid for the pain and some Septra for a slight urinary tract infection they found on accident and sent me home.  I felt so silly after leaving the ER...I thought it could have been gas the three times before so I figure I just spent 6 hours in the ER with gas pains.  The next day I emailed my surgeons nurse just to give her the run down of what on in the ER and to check and see if she had received my last set of labs and she was immediately concerned.  I came in to the office with all my recent labs and the CT Scan and long story short...the following day I was schedule for pre-op testing and an upper gi with small bowel follow through.  The following day I was scheduled for an exploratory lap.  My sugery was yesterday and last night I was home on my couch.

It was clear that my distal stomach (the one I no longer use) had an opening because in my CT scan from the ER visit it was about the size of a softball...full of gas and fluid.  And apparently, the ER Radiologist didn't think there was anything suspicious about a huge pocket of gas/fluid in my gut!

So, my surgeon closed up the distal stomach, repaired and interal ventral hernia and closed up another hole he found elsewhere.  Hopefully, this has fixed everything and it will be my last hernia.  So far so good...he went in through two of my original incisions but had to make an additional one due to the suspsect location of my hernia.  

Moral of the story...always address any symptoms that could even be loosely related to your bariatric surgery with you surgeon.  This was a minor issue in the grand scheme of things but if I had let it go it could have caused very serious problems.   


on 3/28/12 10:51 pm
 I am writing b/c I have been having severe right side lower abdomenal pain.  I have been to three different doctors just recently.  I have had a cat scan and a abdomanal ultrasound.  At one place I was told that I had cysts on the right overy and they could not see the left overy.  Another dr said that I have a small non cancerous tumor on the right side of my uterus and agreed that they could not find the left overy but that there was a fluid filled area in the left tube...however I am not having as much pain on the left as the right..It hurts all the time...severely.  I should not be able to feel pain that strong b/c I have fentynl patches from two prior back surgery related problems...but the pain is so bad it takes my breath.  I also seem to be swelling in my abdomen and not to be blunt, but it hurts to be "active" ....also that causes bleeding.  I have had tubal ligation and tubal ablation.  Ok, now the one doctor wants to do exploratory surgery very soon.  I am also scared that they will open me up and find nothing...and people will say it was all in my head.   I know it's not...the pain is very very real.  If you have had anything like this, please tell me b/c I am so scared...Thanks
Laura R.
on 2/12/13 8:16 am - PA

Hello! I came across your post doing a web search for exploratory surgery on stomach pain in the right side. Your story sounds identical to what I am going through right now. I have had labs, CT scan and an endoscopy done and it has been 5 weeks of pain. I don't have my gallbladder any longer and I had bypass surgery in November, 2010.  Did they ever find out what was wrong and causing the pain for you? I am scheduled to have exploratory surgery on February 28th and am scared that they won't figure out what is causing the pain.


Thank you!


on 12/13/13 6:19 pm

Hey Hun. I have been having almost the sa me problem for about 6 to 10 months now. I had my appendix out when I was 18 and my gallbladder out when I was 22. So I know it's not them. I have had every test done  including x-rays CAT scans ultrasounds colonoscopies and also the scoop when they go down your throat. I've been hospitalized probably at least 10 times and I want to test the only thing that was found was inflamed intestines but the doctor said that will go away The doctor also said that maybe a factor of my pain but it wasn't the cause so I went to my doctor today and he referred me to the same surgeon that in my colonoscopies  my primary care doctor is recommending exploratory surgery if the surgeon approves. So even with my fear of surgeries I'm hoping the surgeon approves the surgery so I can find out what's wrong. The pain is really bad it's really really  sharp mainly in my lower right side but I also have some pain in my left side and shoots clear across my stomach is really feels like somebody stabbing. All I know is I'm tired of being hospitalized and I'm tired of dealing with this pain because it is honestly in human pain. So if you follow me will reply I don't really know how the site works I will let you know what the surgeon says on Tuesday and I will also let you know what the outcome of the surgery is if he improves I wish you the best of luck

on 2/2/14 4:09 am



any news? I've been in the hospital for a month now, very similar symptoms! Unbearable sharp burning pains in my right abdomen. I have Crohn's disease, but this pain is far different than the crohns pain! I've done every test you can think of... CT scan, MRI, ultra sounds, colonoscopy, edg, blood work. And no answers. I haven't eaten in 30 days! I'm at cedar sinai now but being transferred to UCLA tomorrow... I'm thinking about requesting an exploratory surgery. Any success stories would help a ton! Thank you so much! 

y. m
on 4/26/10 6:01 am
RNY on 11/12/07 with

I had RYN 11/12/07 and I have had many of the same complications as you have described.... I have had 3 small bowel obstructions, gall bladder removal, hernia removal and the last 2 surgeries I had perforated holes in my intestines and Ecoli leaked into my blood stream.  Since then I have been in and out of the hospital with vomiting, nausea, and this burning pain in my stomach.  All my test come back negative...... It makes you feel as if your making the whole thing up. 

My life is so stressful......I was a person that never called off sick and now I don't have anytime left on my job.  I cant make plans to do anything with my family because I stay sick more than I'm okay.   It seems that if I eat anything seasoned or with a little bit of grease it will trigger a bad attack that last for hours at a time.  Sorry for rambling on and on, but boy do I feel your pain....  I never knew things would be like this!