There are several causes of pain in the right side following gallbladder surgery.

“Postcholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) is a complex of heterogeneous symptoms including persistent abdominal pain and dyspepsia that recur and persist after cholecystectomy,” says Akram Alashari, MD, a trauma surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center in PA, and author of “THE POWER OF PEAK STATE.”

Dyspepsia refers to heartburn.

“PCS is defined as ‘early’ if it occurs in the postoperative period and ‘late’ if it occurs months or years after surgery.”

Causes of Right Side Pain after Your Gallbladder Removal

“The symptoms of pain and dyspepsia referred to as PCS can be caused by a wide spectrum of conditions, both biliary and extra-biliary,” says Dr. Alashari.

“Extra” in this context means unrelated to the gallbladder.

“About half of the patients with PCS are found to have biliary, pancreatic or gastrointestinal disorders, while the remaining patients have extra-intestinal disease.”

Biliary causes of postcholecystectomy syndrome include:

“Early PCS can be due to biliary injury, retained cystic duct or common bile duct stones. Late PCS can be due to recurrent CBD stones, bile duct strictures, an inflamed cystic duct or gallbladder remnant, papillary stenosis or biliary dyskinesia.

Biliary dyskinesia refers to motor forms of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.”

Extra-biliary causes of postcholecystectomy syndrome include:

“Gastrointestinal causes such as irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, pancreatic tumors, pancreas divisum, hepatitis, peptic ulcer disease, mesenteric ischemia, diverticulitis or esophageal diseases.

“Extra-intestinal causes such as intercostal neuritis, wound neuroma, coronary artery disease, or psychosomatic disorders.”

If you have not had your gallbladder removed or don’t have gallbladder disease, but are experiencing right side abdominal pain, this has many possible causes, as you can see, and the list here is not complete.

akram alashari

Dr. Alashari was formerly with Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in SC as an abdominal and critical care surgeon. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.