sternum pain following hiatal hernia and wrap surgery (successful surgery though!)

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 3/22/2014 9:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone: I am new to this thread but have been reading lots of posts since I found out about my large hiatal hernia many months ago. 10 days ago I had a very successful large paraesophageal hiatal hernia repair with a Toupe wrap. Everything is going well. I have been on soft diet since day after surgery and it is going fine. No problems with swallowing, gas, etc. My only issues are pain in my neck and back of shoulders that improves and then worsens....also have had sharp pain in the sternum that feels like an ice pick is in even goes through to the back. it eases sometimes but then comes back. At first it made breathing tough but that has improved slowly but this normal? When I called the surgeons office they said the neck business was postoperative myalgia but I forgot to mention the sternum pain. I go back to see him in two weeks so I am inclined to wait till then to bring it up if folks have had this and know what I mean and/or have had the same thing happen. I also wonder if it related to what I eat...I at a small soft chocolate covered creamy mint and I think that may have made it worse??? any thoughts or advice would be very appreciated.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 3/23/2014 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
blush Hope that someone sees my post soon and responds...thanks so much....Nan

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2013
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 3/23/2014 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there.

I can't respond to your question specifically but I am in a similar situation in terms of the paraesophageal hernia and Toupet approach recommendation.

My symptoms have been all over the map and relatively recent - current one is sternum-area pressure.

I think there is a way we could privately e-mail - would you be open to doing so? I'm struggling with the surgery decision right now.)

I hope someone comes on board soon with a helpful response for you.

Take good care.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/23/2014 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi nmhart14,

Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah Glad you've joined the forum. Your shoulder pain is a combination of residual gas that was pumped into you to make it easier for the surgeon to see the field of surgery, and referred pain from your diaphragm repair.

I remember reading about it before my surgery, and it seemed so strange to get shoulder pain from stomach surgery! Often (and in my case) it is the worst of the pain, and it doesn't respond well to pain medication. I found that the more I walked, the better my shoulder felt, and visa versa. If you haven't tried walking, please do. I think you'll find it quite effective in helping the pain!

The pain at your sternum is most likely a reaction to wrap swelling. During the first two weeks or so, the wrap becomes increasingly more swollen, and that swelling can create the type of pain and pressure you're describing. In addition, it can make it more difficult to get the food to make it through the wrap. Food and even medications can sit at the wrap site and irritate your esophagus, which can feel just like reflux.

Glad you've joined the forum! Its a great place to get information and support. In case you haven't seen it, here's my early recovery journal. It might provide you with a little more idea of what to expect.

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) : 3/23/2014 4:42:27 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 3/23/2014 4:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Denise! I had the surgery two weeks ago tomorrow and I have started walking within hours of the surgery and have been walking a lot ever since. I called the surgeon's office about my neck and shoulders and they suggested that it is post operative myalgia which is likely since it comes and goes. I only the gas issue for about 24 hours....this pain is quite different...achy and stiffness in my neck. As to the sternum it is almost tough to take a deep breath at times so I wonder if it is related to the fact my left lung was pretty flattened (according to the physicians) because of the size and location of my hiatal hernia....they said that it would take awhile (specific time mentioned) for it to fully relax again. I am an avid swimmer and so they think that is why even though I had pressure in my left chest from the hernia I did not really suffer from shortness of breath....that said, if feels so much better since the surgery. I don't seem to have any difficulty with swallowing or food get stuck at all, thankfully. this pain is actually worse after I have been stationary for a time (like when I sleep during the night). I just wondered if others had this experience? I am so happy I got this surgery despite this annoying lingering regrets and would highly recommend! Nan

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 3/23/2014 4:12 PM (GMT -6)   
YinYanger I would be happy to communicate privately....
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