Is lower chest pain after nissen normal?

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/3/2013 9:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I posted another thread with some more post-op questions but nobody has answered them yet. So I will ask the one that's troubling me most: is it normal to have pain at the bottom of my chest three weeks after nissen fundoplication (partial wrap)? It's basically dead centre at the bottom of my breastbone and is a sensation of tightness that seems to increase when I'm moving around (no problems breathing or swallowing though). The surgery has definitely stopped reflux coming up into my throat, and also stopped the feeling of heartburn in the upper chest, but I'm starting to worry that maybe there is still some heartburn going on that's getting stuck at (what I assume to be) the wrap site. Is this possible? The pain and tightness is constant and of varying degrees. Sometimes it feels burny, but instead of rising up my esophagus like normal heartburn it just sits there in the same spot. I'm unsure if the burning sensation is heartburn or just the normal pain that comes with recovery. Is this something to worry about? If anybody could help me that would be much appreciated, thank you :-)

Pat Tall
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Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 3/3/2013 11:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Check out costochondritis. Just a suggestion.

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Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 707
   Posted 3/3/2013 11:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Only 3 weeks after a major surgery, I would assume theres still swelling and your still adjusting to your new insides. I'm not wrapped but theres some others here who are, I'm sure they'll be along soon.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 3/3/2013 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey there, I am not sure if everybody who had a fundo will feel this way, but I certainly did. I am close to 3 months and I still feel it occasionally, but much less. At 3 weeks, I feel the pain at the chest almost everyday. I think it's normal and you don't have to worry :)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/3/2013 10:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jinx,
At three weeks you still have swelling and surgical pain at the wrap site.  The esophagus is a dumb organ, and it interprets all pain as reflux.  Most likely the "reflux"/heartburn pain that you're experiencing is just plain surgical pain. 
Food and medication can get held up at the wrap site and create irritation that can mimic reflux.  Be sure to take sips of water or tea after eating to ensure that the food makes it through the wrap, and drink plenty of water with medication.
Since it takes 6 months for most of the healing and a year for the rest, you can see you're in the infancy of your recovery, and it's normal to experience the pain you're describing.  You've had major surgery, even though you can't tell because it was done laproscopically and all you have to show for it are a few little slits.  Your upper GI tract has undergone a major revision, and your insides have been through a lot.
Hang in there!  It gets better.
Happy healing,
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 3/3/2013 8:19:00 PM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 3/4/2013 6:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Yep, that pain happens for a while. My last lap. it lasted about 3 to 4 months, but it did gradually get better over that time.

With my open redo that pain was worse and lasted longer, but they have to lift up really hard and for a long time with the open nissen. I did get costochondritis with that one for sure. My surgeon gave me the Medtrol(sp) pack for it. It was steroids over a 5 day period if I remember correctly.

Take care,
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/4/2013 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone, it is a relief to read that this pain is normal and part of the surgery rather than a sign of any reflux returning! :-)
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