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Phantom pain

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2011

I had my left kidney laproscopically removed on July 16, 2011. I thought that I was recovering nicely. I have returned to work(desk job). Right after I returned I felt like I had a pulled muscle at my incision site. The pain got worse. I attributed it to wearing jeans too soon, so I went back to wearing dresses and skirts so nothing would be irritating the incision site. The pain lessened and then it felt like a dull bruise. The pain went away and I awoke this morning with severe pain in my back and in the front at the incision site. I feel like someone kidney punched me in the back. I am now thinking it is Phantom pain. Can you tell me your experiences with this type of pain and how you managed it?

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3334
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Rjallmon,

Sorry to hear about your initiation to our club. Each of us has had our own aches and pains from the surgery although I can not relate to your specific complaints from my personal experience.There are a wide range of aches and pains that others will chime in with. My thought is that you adddress yours with your surgeon.

Best wishes,


Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2011

I had a left nephrectomy 6/2/11, and I still experience some phantom pain every once in awhile...especially when I lie on my left side...it doesn't happen very often, but it's always a surprise when I feel it.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

I don't think it qualifies as phantom pain. I think it's real and legitimate. Your surgery was really quite recent. Mine was a month before yours, and I sometimes have bad pain days, and then the next day it's gone. Usually it's due to if I stand up for too long, or sit in the same position for too long, or recline on one of my couches that always made it hurt, even before surgery. We still just have very sore muscles and tissues. Even when I told my doc I was off my pain meds, he gave me another rx, saying that when I returned to work, it would start hurting again. Boy was he right. (Though I haven't taken the rx.)

Differencials: it could have herniated, or there could be something else causing the pain and that's just the vulnerable site it settled in, like a kidney stone in the other kidney.

Any time you have "severe pain," I think you should run it by the doctor. When's your next follow up appt?

Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Jamie,
Good advice, it's always best to discuss these issues with your doc. I did yesterday, actually went in with a laundry list....Today I'm having a very good day. Thank the dear Lord. Some days I get some muscular pain also, and it usually occurs after prolonged standing, or believe it or not while sleeping....Sleeping on my side stilll isn't an option..I'm not a back sleeper, and getting used to it is difficult. I guess my recent surgery isn't helping matters, but looking forward to a good side sleep someday...Have a great day

Posts: 23
Joined: Jul 2011


Just a thought.. have you tried cuddling a doona or pillow up against your stomach and slightly under your when lying on your side. For some reason I find if I have extra support against me (A bit like a cocoon around by side and tummy) then it takes the pressure off my side....

please note: that was not a rude word! a butterfly emerges from one!

We need sleep :-)

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2011

Thanks for the replies. The next day I am still in pain, though not as bad as yesterday. I don't have another appointment until February. I am going to wait another day and see how I feel and if it is not better, I will call the doctor. It seems to be managable today.

Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2010

I also had a radical right nephrectomy on 8/3/2010. The incision felt "tight", like it was pulling all the time, and for us ladies, like I was wearing pantyhose that was a few sizes too small! I had a MRI, was seen by a neuro-surgeon who diagnosed adhesions. I was in physical therapy for 3 months but it did not get better, acutally, worse. Went to a wonderful surgeon at Ohio State University who specializes in adhesions and wounds. He also told me that the flank incisions are the worst to heal from and are very painful. He did surgery on 8/29/2011 expecting to clean up adhesions and found a lipoma the size of his fist in the scar. It was pushing my ribs out of place. On follow-up yesterday, he said it would be "tight" for at least 4 - 5 months while the scar tissue is healing. These wound lipomas do not show up on any tests as they are formed of fatty tissue. Do not ignore your pain - it could be more than "phantom"!

i wish you well in your recovery and welcome you as a survivor!!!

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