ZocdocAnswersWhat could the awful stabbing, dull pain under my ribs on the right side be?

Question

What could the awful stabbing, dull pain under my ribs on the right side be?

I had surgery 4 weeks ago. I had my first rib removed and muscle from my upper chest due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I can't sit with out excruciating pain only on my right side below my ribs. I had to be on a lot of pain medication and antibiotics due to cellulitis. I feel a little bulge or lump.

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your symptoms. In order to determine the specific cause of your pain, a physician would need to review your entire medical history, including your operative report and prior imaging, and also perform a thorough physical exam. Only after collecting this information will it be possible to make accurate recommendations. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to see a primary care physician to discuss these issues. During surgery to remove a rib, particular care must be taken to avoid damaging the nerve bundle that runs along the underside of each rib. Damage to the nerve or continued irritation following surgery can cause numbness or pain. It is possible you are still experiencing pain from manipulation during the surgery. Depending on how the area was closed, there may be continued impingement of the nerve leading to this pain. You mention cellulitis, and it is possible that an infection in this area is causing ongoing irritation and pain. If there is a rash in the area, other disorders, such as shingles, could have been triggered by your surgery. Shingles is due to reactivation of a prior infection and can be quite painful. I strongly encourage you to see a primary care physician and discuss these concerns.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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