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I had gallbladder removal surgery as well as hiatal hernia repair on April 20th. I noticed last week that my left shoulder (the ball) started aching. I now have a constant pain in my left shoulder (ball) as well as spasms throughout the day. Tonight my husband and I noticed that my left collar bone was a little swollen (no pain just numbness). Does any one have any suggestions? Please help?

PS. I spoke with my surgeon about the left shoulder ball pain and he stated that it's because my stomach is sitting on a nerve?????


Say WHAT?!!!! Last time I checked my stomach wasn't anywhere near my shoulder - well except for when I'm sitting down!!!!

What I think happened is this, when you are under and they do surgery on your organs they place your arms out especially your left arm straight out like a T - so they can access the body cavity better, constantly take your blood pressure, and also for intraveanous! Then they pump your stomach (AREA) with Carbon Dioxide so when they are doing the Laproscopic surgery they can see ALL the organs better! So even though this is FANTASTIC for the surgeons to be able to see everything clearer etc, IF all the gas doesn't come out it can leave you in a LOT of pain - kind of like severe heartburn but in different parts of your body! I remember after I had a Laproscopy, they didn't let the gas out! and I was in AGONY below is some information from a site I found on it! And I am not allowed to put links so here is what I am trying to tell you!

Yes, everything you've heard is true. Sometimes the shoulder pain following a laparoscopy is more painful than your incisions or your abdomen!

During the lap, C02 (Carbon Dioxide) gas is injected through a special needle inserted just below the navel.(1) This is done in order to insufflate the pelvic cavity and allow the surgeon a better view of the reproductive organs. After the lap, most people experience shoulder pain, ranging from mild to severe. But if the work was done in the pelvis, why the shoulder pain?

The diaphragm and the shoulder share some of the same nerves - predominantly the Phrenic Nerve. The Phrenic Nerve arises on each side of the neck, from the 3rd, 4th and 5th cervical spine roots and passes downwards between the lungs and the heart to reach the diaphragm. Impulses through the nerves from the brain bring about the regular contractions of the diaphragm during breathing. When the C02 gas irritates the diaphragmatic nerves, that pain is then referred upwards through the nerve connections, eventually landing in - and aggravating - the shoulder.

Why does the gas irritate the nerves, if it's just inflating the diaphragm? Because the gas does more than just inflate the abdominal cavity: it also effects the physiology of the surrounding peritoneal tissue. Previously, some surgeons believed that the shoulder pain was due to a reaction of the C02 combining with water. However, recent work has determined that the actual cause of the nerve irritation is a result of the cellular death caused by the combination of a temperature change from the gas at 21c and the drying effect of the gas at .0002%.(2) Dr. Larry Demco, a renowned laparoscopic pioneer and Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada), refers to to this event in the following manner:
What REALLY worked for me and I think will for you too, is move as much as possible= go for walks, take showers put a shower head on pulsating and let it run over your shoulder and diaphragm! Use a hot water bottle - moist heat helps the gas move! Also take Gas X or any other gas medication! Take in as much water as possible - whatever the post op says is fine! This pain WILL go away it just SUCKS for awhile OK? Good luck and health, and with this surgery you will feel SO much better in a couple of weeks! God Bless and big hugs!


Hi there, I just ran across this and it's been about going on three months...three months since my abdominal surgery. I have had several tests, exrays and even pt and i am still in severe pain of my shoulders. One worse than the the other. Can I do anything. Can anyone be held responsible? Thank you