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Pain After Abdominal/ Pelvic Surgery

SamWell Institute for Pain Management

Pain Management Specialist located in Colonia, NJ, Livingston, NJ & Englewood, NJ

You wouldn’t expect to have abdominal or pelvic surgery and not experience a few weeks of discomfort. However, if you’re still in pain three months after your operation, you should consult with pain management specialist Jay Shah, MD, of SamWell Institute for Pain Management in Colonia, Englewood and Livingston, New Jersey. They have considerable experience in diagnosing and treating chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery and using advanced technologies like spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion stimulation to resolve chronic nerve pain. Call SamWell Institute for Pain Management today or schedule an appointment online.

Pain After Abdominal/ Pelvic Surgery Q & A

How long should pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery last?

If you undergo any type of surgery, you can expect to be in pain afterward. Your level of discomfort depends on many factors, including the kind of operation you’ve had and on what part of your body, as well as your underlying condition.

Open surgery involves cutting through skin and muscle to reach the tissues that need repair, which can cause significant trauma and higher levels of postoperative pain. A minimally invasive procedure causes less damage, but some pain is inevitable.

Pain after minimally invasive surgery might last only a few weeks, sometimes even less. For more major surgeries, pain could last several months. If you’re still suffering significant pain three months after abdominal/pelvic surgery, you should contact SamWell Institute for Pain Management.

What causes chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery?

Very often, it’s not clear why you’re experiencing chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery, but there are some known causes.

Two of the primary pelvic nerves (the ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves) are often very close or directly in line with the surgery site. Even highly skilled surgeons could potentially irritate or cause long-term complications to a nerve during surgery.

One problem is that people’s nerve structures vary — quite considerably in some cases. Your pelvic nerves might run under the muscles in your abdomen or directly through them, for instance. Or you might have more branches of pelvic nerves than other people.

Your pelvic nerves may get stretched during surgery or compressed afterward. Your nerves could also be trapped in the stitches or staples, or materials like surgical mesh that surgeons use in some procedures, and these conditions can cause chronic pelvic or abdominal pain.

What are the treatments for pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery?

Nerve pain medications like gabapentin and pregabalin, and duloxetine are often effective in treating nerve pain. If medications aren’t helping, Dr. Shah specializes in administering image guided nerve block injections to tackle chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery.

Image guided nerve block injections contain a local anesthetic that numbs the painful area as well as anti-inflamatory steroid medication.. The effects are temporary, but a series of nerve blocks can provide extended relief from chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery, and more importantly can help to provide a definitive diagnosis for your pain.

If your condition isn’t improving, Dr. Shah offers two advanced pain management options for chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery. Both treatments use neuromodulation technology to disrupt pain signals traveling from your abdomen/pelvis to your brain.

Spinal cord stimulation

During spinal cord stimulation, which uses specific doses of electrical stimulation to block pain signals and relieve pain, Dr. Shah places a spinal cord stimulator leads and electrodes within the epidural space behind your spinal cord during a minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Shah performs an external trial of the procedure first for 7 days, to accurately assess your candidacy for a long-term implant of the pain relieving device. 

Dr. Shah uses anesthesia so you don’t feel pain as the stimulator is implanted, a procedure that might takes about 60-90 minutes in a same day outpatient setting..

The procedure is performed under direct live fluoroscopic or X-ray image guidance for accuracy, precision, and safety. 

Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation 

Dorsal root ganglion stimulation is a similar technology to spinal cord stimulation but targets the dorsal root ganglion. The DRG is a large nerve bundle that sends signals to your spinal cord to relay to your brain that you are in pain. For chronic pelvic pain, there is a large amount of evidence supporting DRG stimulation for this indication with the potential to provide long-term and sustained pain relief. 

To find out more about these leading treatment options for chronic pain after abdominal/pelvic surgery, call SamWell Institute for Pain Management today or book an appointment online.